- As Aregbeso+la asks FG to tax the rich
By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu
For Nigeria to have any meaningful headway in addressing the problem of huge infrastructural deficit confronting it, not less than N10trillion is urgently needed, said the former Minister of Power, Works and Housing , Babatunde Raji Fashola.
This is as the immediate past Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, called for heavy taxation on wealthy citizens in the society as a way of bridging the gap of inequality between the poor and the rich.
They made these submissions Monday in Abuja while appearing before the Senate for screening as ministerial nominees.
Fashola in his submission on infrastructural deficit in the country said the yearly budgetary allocations for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government saddled with responsibilities of fixing the infrastructure cannot in any way, make the required headway due to paucity of funds.
“Capital components of budgetary allocations to the affected agencies for infrastructural development range between 50 to 55% on yearly basis resulting into the deficit on ground across the various sectors from Roads to Railways, Power, Housing, etc.
“This is the reason why in the past years, the federal government has been coming up with deficit budgeting in paving way for acquisition of loans to address the infrastructural deficit.
“To me, the approach has to some extent, helped in fixing some of the infrastructure, particularly through the Sukkuk component but the country needs a bigger pool of funds to address the problem holistically.
“In doing this, an infrastructural bond of about N10trillion need to be put on ground by the government on the template of Public Private Partnership which in itself , will give room for thousands of interested Nigerians to have shares .
“The Sukkuk instrument alone, which is just N100billion benefitted 286 investors not to talk of N10trillion bond “, he said.
On electricity, he said the focus of Nigerians should be on the regulator, that is, the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), since the sector has been privatized.
His words: “The Ministry of Power has ceased to be an operator of the sector by being restricted to policy and directive alone.
“NERC as the operator is the one in charge, that must ensure that the sector gives Nigerians quality service of electricity generation abd provision on daily basis “.
He added that contrary to impression that it is only the federal government that can generate , transmit and distribute electricity , the various states government are also constitutional empowered to do same for people of their respective states.
According to him, article 13, 14 and 15 of the second schedule of the constitution put the responsibility on the concurrent list , which means that States Government can also form their own Power Authority for generation and provision of power within their territorial scope .
While responding to question on taxation , Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola said for Nigeria to have a just taxation system, the rich or the wealthy in the society must be specially taxed in bridging the wide gap between them and the poor on one hand , and in raising the revenue profile of the country for infrastructural development .
“ There is need to put in place , privileged taxes for those who have huge resources as a way of raising revenues for the country and bridging the wide gap of inequality between the rich and the poor in the society .”, he said .