True Fiscal Federalism is The Only Solution -By Tony Osborg

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Tony Osborg

Tony Osborg

 

#TrueFiscalFederalism remains the solution to Nigeria’s problem. President Buhari can only become our Messiah if and only if he restructures the government into a Fiscal Federalism. If he doesn’t, he will only end up being overwhelmed by the criminality of the present political structure.

I have now come to the firm conclusion that Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP were actually not the problem of Nigeria. And also, President Buhari and the APC are likely not to be the solution to Nigeria’s seemingly endless problems.

The problem with Nigeria is the structure of its federalism. The existing federal structure does not only breed corruption, it also corrupts our politicians and leaders. It makes the state governments lazy and unproductive. It makes the local people poor. It puts too much power at the centre, and leaves the local people and their economy miserable. And, worst of it all, the present structure does not enhance productivity, competition and efficiency among states and at the local levels. It makes Nigeria look like a joke, which for now, it is.

The states should be allowed to manage their own economies and pay an agreed tax or percentage of their revenue and income to Abuja for Nigeria’s general upkeep. Let us not forget that it is only when the local federating units of Nigeria are developing that we can actually say Nigeria is developing.

If Nigeria must make swift progress, then she must be restructured as soon as possible. What does restructuring mean? It simply means that the bulk of what we have on the exclusive list in the Nigerian Constitution should be sent down to the concurrent list and the federal government should stay clear of the concurrent list. In a nutshell, the states should be given more powers and more money to allow them embark on their new and ‘more’ responsibilities. The states should be allowed to build, own, operate and distribute their own electricity and other critical infrastructure. The federal government should take its hands of such issues like basic education, health, infrastructure, and other issues that are currently on the concurrent list. Nigeria is now too abstract for us to be looking up to all the time, but our state and local governments are not abstract, they are here with us, and we can hold them to ransom if the need arises, unlike the more abstract Nigeria.

States that cannot afford to cope with this arrangement should either go bankrupt or merge to survive. We do not need 36 unproductive states to make up Nigeria.

How can the states have money to do these new things? First, the monthly ritual of sharing allocation at Abuja MUST stop. The federating units must stop sending all their revenues to Abuja. All monies generated in Lagos should be spent alone in Lagos and by the Lagos government; the same should apply to Kano, Bayelsa, Maiduguri, etc. The states should be allowed to manage their own economies and pay an agreed tax or percentage of their revenue and income to Abuja for Nigeria’s general upkeep. Let us not forget that it is only when the local federating units of Nigeria are developing that we can actually say Nigeria is developing. The national GDP that does not reflect the economic efforts of local people and its impact on the local population is meaningless. This is a problem we have always had in Nigeria. States that cannot afford to cope with this arrangement should either go bankrupt or merge to survive. We do not need 36 unproductive states to make up Nigeria.

The local people should be in charge of their economy and this is the true way to verify a genuine GDP. Local Governments must not continue to look up to Abuja to survive, they must look within.

We must not forget that Abuja is not Nigeria; if the various constituting units of Nigeria are not developing, especially from the local levels, then Nigeria is not developing. The local people should be in charge of their economy and this is the true way to verify a genuine GDP. Local Governments must not continue to look up to Abuja to survive, they must look within. They must build local infrastructure, tax local businesses and make profit to run their local economies and governments. What is missing in Nigeria today is competition amongst the federating states and the only way to correct this abnormality is to restructure the country into a True Fiscal Federalism

…Nigeria must be restructured if we must make progress.

#TrueFiscalFederalism remains the solution to Nigeria’s problem. President Buhari can only become our Messiah if and only if he restructures the government into a Fiscal Federalism. If he doesn’t, he will only end up being overwhelmed by the criminality of the present political structure.

I repeat, Nigeria must be restructured if we must make progress. #NigeriaNeedsAConstitutionalAmendment

Tony Osborg writes from Port Harcourt.

 

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