Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state has called for a review of the model of federalism practiced in Nigeria, to make it pragmatic and to ensure that it works better.
El-Rufai who stated this at the North West zonal public hearing on the review of the current vertical revenue sharing formular in the country, argued for more revenue to be given to states and local governments to deliver better governance at the grassroots.
The governor said that the argument for a review of the vertical revenue allocation formula is compelling, adding that ‘’the federal government has to consolidate its focus around security, foreign affairs and monetary and fiscal policies.’’
El-Rufai, who was represented by his deputy, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, called on the federal government to shed off some of its responsibilities to states which overstretch the government at the centre.
“For instance, basic and secondary education, primary health care and agriculture are subnational responsibilities. But the way things are, many states have to support the federal security agencies deployed within their jurisdictions, despite the fact that security is a federal responsibility,’’ he argued.
He noted that the component units in many federations raise the funds they need to run their states, and rely on the central government for specific areas like infrastructure, social interventions and fiscal support in emergencies.
The governor added that ‘’our reality is that the federal government has since the late 1960s acquired powers and resources similar to those exercised by the sovereign in unitary systems. Most of the 36 states rely on the revenues from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC).’’
The governor recalled that ‘’the APC True Federalism Committee, which I chaired, had recommended a review of the revenue allocation formula in favour of the states.
‘’In my view, this is the most efficient way to adjustment the finances of the federation while transiting to a wider devolution of powers and responsibilities.
The public hearing was attended by the Chairman of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, (RMAFC) Eng. Elias Mbam, and critical stakeholders from the five North Western states.