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FG has no right to collect VAT – Southern govs

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 By Uzoh Ugwueze, Enugu

The Southern Governors’ Forum yesterday declared that the federal government has no right to collect Value Added Tax, VAT.

This formed a major point of their meeting in Enugu on yesterday, Thursday, in which the governors insisted that it was within the powers of the various states to collect VAT.

They also reaffirmed their stand on open grazing ban, urging every state in the region to quickly pass a law to that effect.

A communiqué after the meeting was read by the chairman of the Forum and Ondo state governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu SAN.

Present at the meeting were Ifeanyi Okowa [Delta], Babajide Sanwo-Olu, [Lagos], Gboyega Oyetola, [Osun], Udom Emmanuel, [Akwa Ibom], Nyesom Wike, [Rivers], Dapo Abiodun, [Ogun] and the host, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state.

Deputy governors present included Rauf Olaniyan, [Oyo], Bisi Egbeyemi, [Ekiti], Philip Shuaib, [Edo], Ude Oko Chukwu, [Abia], Kelechi Igwe, [Ebonyi], Placid Njoku, [Imo].

In the communiqué, the governors “expressed satisfaction with the rate at which the states in the Southern Nigeria are enacting or amending the Anti- Open Grazing Laws which align with the uniform template and aspiration of Southern Governors and encouraged the states that are yet to enact this law to do so expeditiously.

“Encouraged the full operationalisation of already agreed regional security outfits; which would meet, share intelligence and collaborate, to ensure the security and safety of the region.

“Reaffirmed its earlier commitment to structural and fiscal federalism as resolved at the inaugural meeting of the Forum held on Tuesday, 11th May 2021 at Asaba, Delta state and emphasised the need for the Southern states to leverage the legislative competence of their respective State Houses of Assembly as well as representation in the national assembly to pursue its inclusion in the Nigeran Constitution through the ongoing constitutional amendment.

Following from paragraph 3″ above [commitment to structural and fiscal federalism], the meeting resolved to support the position that the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the states.”

They equally “expressed satisfaction with the handling of issues around the Petroleum Industry ACT (PIA) and ownership of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by the larger Nigerian Governors’ Forum.

“Reiterated their earlier position that the next president of Nigeria must come from the Southern part of Nigeria in line with politics of equity, justice and fairness.

“The Forum thanked the host governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and chose Rivers state as the next host for the Southern Governors’ Forum meeting in November 2021.”

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