No State Can Compete With Lagos In Terms Of IGR – Ex-Gov. Shema

Ibrahim-ShemaThe immediate past Governor of Katsina State, Barr. Ibrahim Shema, has hailed the taxation system of Lagos State just as he pointed out that no state in the country could match Lagos in terms of revenue and capital projects.

The former governor stated this during a programme on Channels Television on Monday.

Shema, who holds the record as the only former governor in the last dispensation that did not approach the bond market for a loan, said he refused joining the bandwagon because Katsina State was not self-sufficient.

While the immediate past Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, left a debt of over N150bn for his successor, Akinwunmi Ambode, Shema left about N3.7bn in the state’s treasury for his successor, Aminu Bello Masari.

However, Shema said there was nothing wrong in obtaining loans as long as the state had the capacity to service the loans.

He said, “I have nothing against borrowing. I did not borrow because number one, the interest rates are harsh. I don’t know how governments in a dwindling economy can borrow money and will be able to pay and if the interest is very high, the economy of the state will go under.

“If the interest rates were low as obtains in developed democracies, probably one could borrow and do certain projects. The second reason is that within our meagre resources, we felt we could manage and achieve the kind of results we have achieved today and as it is, you can clearly see that Katsina did not borrow a kobo. And we did not fail to deliver the dividends of democracy”.

The former governor pointed out that the monthly Internally Generated Revenue of Katsina State was less than N1bn as opposed to the over N23bn which Lagos State generates.

He, therefore, urged his successornot to plunge the state into debt.

He said, “Lagos raised (its) IGR to over N23bn a month. In every major nation of the world, the major source of income is taxation and not from oil. If managed properly, the tax structure in Nigeria can generate more income. Lagos has just demonstrated that example.

“In Katsina, the story is a bit different. Lagos has many industries that it can tax. Lagos has many programmes and projects that can easily generate income, especially as it is the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria.

“So, you cannot compare Lagos with any state in Nigeria. Maybe Kano can come next but Katsina is essentially an agrarian and civil service state – that is why we cannot be compared to Lagos. But now, we are trying to make the economy better”.