Claim: Former Anambra Governor Peter Obi increased Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) from N7 billion to N8 billion within eight years, while Nasir El-Rufai increased Kaduna State IGR from N15 billion to N93 billion.
Verdict: Partly true.
With increasing interest in the outcome of the 2023 presidential elections, many Nigerians have taken to social media to express their support for their preferred candidates.
Some supporters go to extreme lengths to support their candidates, including verbally attacking and criticising members or candidates of perceived opposition parties. A few others also have the penchant for bandying figures that are either untrue or misleading about the presidential candidates – just to prove why their preferred candidates should be voted for.
Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), made the headlines recently over a figure attributed to his time as governor of Anambra State.
Mr Obi became the governor of Anambra State on the ticket of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) on March 17, 2006, but was impeached on November 2, 2006, seven months after he was sworn into office.
However, Obi took the matter to court, won the case and was reinstated on February 9, 2007, by the Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu.
Months later, another election took place in April 2007 that brought in Andy Uba. Still, his tenure lasted only 16 days before the Supreme Court ordered Uba to vacate the position to allow Mr Obi to complete his tenure.
Mr Obi again contested for the governorship position and won a second term in office, which ended on March 7, 2014.
After he left office, he maintained a relatively low profile in the political landscape until 2019, when he contested for the position of vice president alongside Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In March 2022, Mr Obi declared his interest in the 2023 presidency, albeit under the PDP. However, his ambition of being the PDP flag bearer was dashed in May when Mr Abubakar emerged as the party’s presidential candidate.
Mr Obi later joined the Labour Party and became the party’s presidential candidate.
Following his emergence as the LP presidential candidate, Mr Obi has become a third major contender in the presidential race after Atiku Abubakar of the PDP and Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
This has attracted major conversations around Mr Obi and his achievements during his tenure as governor of Anambra State for eight years.
Just recently, a Twitter user claimed Mr Obi increased the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of Anambra State from N7 billion to N8 billion within eight years (an increase of only N1 billion).
The recent tweet continued to generate intense conversations around Mr Obi’s competency and competitive edge against Mr Tinubu, who was said to have significantly improved Lagos State’s economy when he was governor.
According to Leo Ukpong, a professor of Financial Economics at American University School of Business, Yola, Adamawa State, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the primary index of economic growth and not the IGR.
Mr Ukpong, a dean at the institution, told DUBAWA that the IGR is derived from taxation, and the higher the taxes, the more it reduces people’s purchasing power.
“IGR is internally generated Revenue; it’s nothing but a tax. You can overtax somebody, a city or a country, but this doesn’t mean you’re growing. In fact, you can be killing the country by over-taxing it. The real indicator of economic growth is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” he said.
“For instance, let’s say there are two people in the two States, and they earn N1,000 each; their generated income is N1,000. Now the person in Kaduna could be paying a tax of 60%, which means out of N1,000, about N600 will go into tax while the other person in the other state might be paying 20%. If you look at it, it would seem like Kaduna, with the 60% IGR rate, is growing faster, so definitely, IGR is not an indicator of growth.
“In fact, sometimes the higher the IGR, the lower the growth of the economy. It is a fact they are overtaxed. Tax is taking away income from your Gross Income. If I overtax you, you don’t have money to circulate to other activities.
“For instance, if you earn N100,000 monthly at your job and pay a tax rate of about 40%, that means you come home with N60,000. You don’t have money to buy other things. The lower the tax, the higher the expenditure, also known as disposable income. Most countries sometimes lower the tax so that there can be more expenditure on other things in the economy.
“If you only make 60% of your income, you have to ration what you spend the money on; essentials will be your number one expenditure, things like vacation, furniture, DSTV, you might cut down on those, and if you do that, you will decrease the growth rate of the economy.”
Claim 1: Peter Obi increased Anambra’s Internally Generated Revenue by only N1 billion within eight years of governance.
As stated in the report of the Accountant General of Anambra State with Financial Statements for the year 2006 signed by the State Accountant General at the time, Ms V. A. Obinwa, the IGR for Anambra State at the end of 2006 was N4.6 billion, a decline from N7.3 billion accrued in 2005.
In 2007, the Financial Statements released by the Accountant General of the State, Barrister R.H.C Ogbogu, showed that the state’s IGR was N6.02 billion, while the IGR in 2008 was N6.06 billion. In 2009, the IGR was N6.5 billion.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics on Internally Generated Revenue at the State level from 2010 to 2012 showed that Anambra State IGR in 2010 was N7.7 billion. In 2011, the IGR of the State was reduced to N6.1 billion.
Meanwhile, another data released jointly by the NBS and the Joint Tax Board showed that the Anambra State IGR in 2012 was N7.6 billion and N8.7 billion as of 2013, a year to the end of Mr Obi’s tenure.
By 2014, the Anambra State IGR had increased to N10.4 billion, according to data from the NBS.
Internally Generated Revenue in Anambra State (2006 – 2014)
However, DUBAWA observed that the Accountant General’s report indicating IGR in Anambra State does not include the Value Added Tax accrued for the year. Mr Ukpong told DUBAWA that VAT is a subset of the IGR and is usually calculated alongside other components of the IGR.
Therefore, DUBAWA deemed it fit to include the VAT data on the Accountant General’s report for Anambra from 2006 to 2009. In 2006, the VAT was N2.7 billion, which increased to N3.5 billion in 2007. The State recorded N4.67 billion in 2008 and N4.6 billion in 2009.
The claim that the Anambra State IGR moved from N7 billion to N8 billion within eight years is true. Available data shows that there was a decline in the IGR from N7 billion to N4 billion between 2005 and 2006, the year Mr Obi became governor. However, there was a slow increase in the IGR to N8.7 billion in 2013, a few months before the end of Mr Obi’s tenure.
Claim 2: El-Rufai increased Kaduna State IGR from N15 billion to N93 billion.
Mr El-Rufai served as Minister of the Federal Capital Territory from 2003 to 2007; he was also the director of the Bureau of Public Enterprises.
Mr El-Rufai, a foremost member of the APC, has declared his support for the party’s flagbearer, Mr Tinubu, a major contender against Mr Obi.
Some Twitter users have claimed that Mr El-Rufai adopted a model purportedly created by the APC presidential candidate to increase the IGR of Kaduna State.
Mr Tinubu served as Lagos State Governor from 1999 to 2007. DUBAWA’s findings revealed that Lagos State IGR as of 1999 was N14.6 billion, and as of the end of Mr Tinubu’s tenure in 2007, the IGR had increased significantly to N83.02 billion. However, there were pockets of decline within the eight years.
Supporters of Mr Tinubu, who identified as ‘BATists’, an acronym of the three names of the presidential candidate, had on a few occasions bandied figures claiming Lagos IGR in 1999 was N600 million and had experienced rapid growth to its current rate of N753.4 billion due to the Tinubu effect, even though he had stopped ruling since 2007.
Using available data from the NBS, the Internally Generated Revenue of Kaduna State as of the end of 2015 is N11.5 billion, representing a 9.75% decline from the N12.7 billion the previous year.
There are conflicting figures around Kaduna State’s IGR in the year 2016. In one report, the Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service claimed the state’s IGR for 2016 was N23.5 billion. In another report, the same body claimed Kaduna State generated N17.5 billion internally.
There is no data yet regarding Kaduna State’s IGR as of the end of 2022.
The claim that El-Rufai raised Kaduna State IGR from N15 billion to N93 billion is false. Available data shows the State IGR in 2021 was N52.8 billion.