YEARLY RENEWAL FEE: Kaduna State’s Controversial Levy on Private Schools
Facts have begun to emerge why private schools in Kaduna may be faced out in the state due to what National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) in the state termed outrageous levy. NAPPS says the yearly levy; “renewal fee” paid to the state ministry of education by private schools in the state which was between fifty thousand and ten thousand naira (N50, 000.00- N10,000.00) has been geometrically reviewed to between five hundred thousand naira (N500, 000.00 and N100, 000.00) depending on the category of the school.
Dr. Vincent Ogini of Supreme International School who is the president of NAPPS in the state said that concerted effort by the organisation to make the state government see reason for downward review of the levy have not been successful.
Conscience Triumph investigation reveals that the state private schools board suddenly increased the levy on private schools in the state without recourse to consulting the schools or prior notification. Our findings reveal that on the 6th May, 2013, the Kaduna State Private Schools Board in a letter “Re-categorisation of Schools” directed proprietors and prophetesses that category A schools in the state are from that letter to pay N500,000.00 while category B are to pay N400,00.00. Categories C, D and E are to cough out N300, 000.00, N200, 000.00 and N100, 000.00 respectively. The letter signed by FN Leo (Mrs) with ref /KSPSB/14/vol.1/20 informed proprietors and prophetesses of private schools in the state that the categorisation done in 2007 has become obsolete and therefore directed that the new categorisation takes effect from the receipt of the letter.
A reliable source from NAPPS in Kaduna told our reporter that prior to the ascension of the former governor of the state; late Patrick Yakowa, the yearly renewal fees for private schools in the state was between five thousand and two thousand naira, explaining that the late governor reviewed the fee to fifty thousand naira (N50, 000.00) for category A and twenty thousand naira (N20, 000.00) for category B and so on. However, Governor Ramalan Yero jerked the fee to five hundred thousand (N500, 000) naira the source further explained. It was also gathered that when NAPPS contacted the governor on the issue, he promptly dismissed their appeal saying that the state government was sourcing for way to generate revenue for running the government adding all school must comply with the directive or cease operating.
The source further said that NAPPS went to the Kaduna State Private Schools Board but the then director of the board told them that the fee is one of the policies sent to him to implement explaining that he does not formulate policy.
Our reporter also gathered that NAPPS went to seek audience with the house committee chairman on education of the state House of Assembly and the commissioner for education on the matter but all to no avail. When the effort could not raise any hope, NAPPS took the matter to the emir of Zaria, Alhaji (Dr) Shehu Idris for his intervention, according to the source said. The royal father on hearing the matter swiftly called the attention of the commissioner for education and warned that upward review of the fee for private schools could bring down education in the state. He particularly warned that the disparity between the north and south on education does not give room for any imposition of cut throat fee on private schools in the north and particularly Kaduna State. The emir was quoted as telling the commissioner that outrageous fee should not be used to kill education in the state. Dr. Idris advised the state government to look for another ways of raising fund to run the government adding that imposing untold fees on private schools will negatively affect the state, the source said.
Our reporter was told that some members of NAPPS in the state who felt that the N500, 000 renewal fees was unjustifiably outrageous are considering other option of taking the state government to court. However the options of court never receive the blessing of majority of the members because litigation could take years without any positive result they insist, they therefore resort to negotiating with the government as the way out.
Our investigation further gathered that at least 7 private schools are presently on sale in the metropolis alone due to the harsh environment for operating private school in the state. NAPPS said double taxation from government agencies in the state has added additional harsh condition to already worsen one by the outrageous fee. NAPPS explained that if the renewal fee is allowed by the government to care of all charges it could be manageable but local government, environmental and other government agencies still come to the schools for other taxes.
Mr Peter Uko Nsebong an educationist told Conscience Triumph that what is obtainable in running private schools in Kaduna is not incomparable to any other state in the country. Nsebong said “That even the FCT that is a mega city does not charge this injurious levy.” He explained that while category A schools in the FCT pay two hundred and fifty thousand (N250, 000.00), Kaduna schools pay five hundred thousand naira (N500, 000.00) for the same category.
However Mrs. Franca Jatau, Deputy Director Kaduna State Private Schools Board said that the board will reconsider reviewing the categorisation because of the persistent complaints from schools. She said that the new management of the board inherited the categorisation adding that the board will send the matter back to the government for further consideration.