(….at interactive session with governorship candidates in Kaduna, as organised by OPS, BMOs)
As part of build up to 2019 governorship election in Kaduna State, 30 business organisations under Organised Private Sector (OPS) and Business Membership Organizations (BMOs), yesterday had interactive session with governorship candidates of All Progressives Congress (APC) and that of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Nasir El-Rufai and Sa’eed Kajuru respectively.
The interactive session, which was the second in the series, was aimed at bringing those aspiring for the office of the governor in the state before citizens, to come and share their idea on how they plan to improve the economy of the State, if elected. It was held at the Conference Hall of Kaduna International Trade and Investment Centre, Zaria.
Responding to some of the questions bodering on taxation, the APC candidate and incumbent Governor of the State, Nasir El-Rufai said, his administration has been prudent in ways and manners it is spending monies in state’s covers to move the state forward.
He was very frank when he said, “we are not stealing your money. We are not wasting your money. We are using your money to work for you. You can see what we are using your money for.”
El-Rufai also appealled to business owners in the State to help the state develop by way of correctly and regularly paying their taxes, so that, government can have more money to do more for its citizens. You have to help us to pay your taxes because this is what we use to work in the State.
“For example, we gave nine years free education to boys and twelve years to girls. We have primary healthcare centres everywhere in the State. Where do you think the money for these is coming from; from taxes.
“Help us to work better. We are not taking money from the treasury to campaign. Please help pay your taxes”, he urged.
When he was asked about the possibility of revamping Kaduna textile he said, “Textile is very important to me and I promised to do everything I can to revive Kaduna textiles.
“Uniform for people in Nigerian Armed Forces alone where we have about one million people is a big business. It will be revived to be a garment company. I cannot do it alone without the support of the owners, the 19 Northern States.
“As a state, the only thing we can give them free is water. We know textile use a lot of water. We cannot give them free electricity but we can give water because we own the body of water.
“We we are now working to bring Chinish companies to come and establish textile here. They are demanding for 400 hectares of land. That investment worth $400m. If we are able to do that, it will be the beginning of modern textile companies.
“Some of them, their business model cannot be revived. Some of the companies set up in the 60s are not reviveable. It is better to kill them, clear the land and start something new”, El-Rufai explained.
Speaking earlier, his counterpart in SDP and former Account General of the State, Sa’eed Kajuru, promised more transparent government if elected in March 2, election.
According to him, “my government will be transparent than what we have now if I’m elected governor of Kaduna State next month.
“We will open the room, on the light and let the people come and see what is happening.
“When I was the Accountant General of the State, we were transparent. Before now, what we did then, was to pay government officials who travels to Abuja for example, was to pay them the fare standard, as opposed to the idea, where they would be expected to bring receipts.
“So, instead of paying just N20,000, the person is presenting the receipts of N100,000 and there is nothing you can do because he has receipts.
“Now, they said they are operating Open Government Partnership (OGP), they open the door but the room is dark. We are going to open all sectors of the economy and operate transparent government, driven by the citizens them selves in line with best practices across the globe”, he said.