Southern Governors back VAT collection by states

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The Southern Governors Forum has expressed support for the collection of the controversial Value Added Tax by state governments.

The Governors made their positions known on Thursday during their meeting in Enugu.

Reading the resolutions of the Governors shortly after the meeting, which was attended by nine Governors and seven Deputy Governors, the Chairman of the Forum/Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), tasked the Governors that were yet enact the anti-open grazing law to do so without much delay.

Akeredolu, in the seven-point communiqué, said the Governors were satisfied with the rate at which the states were enacting and amending the anti-open grazing laws, in line with the uniform template and aspiration of the Forum.

The communiqué read in part, “the Southern Governors Forum expressed satisfaction with the rate at which the states in 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 enact this law to do so expeditiously.

“We also encourage the full operationalisation of already agreed regional security outfits, which would meet, share intelligence and collaborate ensure the security and safety of the region.

“The Forum reaffirms its earlier commitment fiscal federalism as resolved at the inaugural meeting of the Forum held on Tuesday, 11, 2021, at Asaba, Delta State and emphasised the need for the Southern States leverage the legislative competence of their respective State Houses of Assembly, as well as representation in the National pursue its inclusion in the Nigerian Constitution through the ongoing constitutional amendment.

“The meeting resolved to support the position that the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the states. It also expresses satisfaction with the handling of issues around the Petroleum Industry Act and ownership of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation by the larger Nigerian Governors’ Forum.”

The Forum also reiterated their earlier position that the next President of Nigeria must come from the southern part of Nigeria, in line with the politics of equity, and fairness.

The Governors present at the meeting were Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State; Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State; Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State; Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State; Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State; and Doye Diri of Bayelsa state.

Others were the Governors of Ogun state, Dapo Abiodun, and Akwa Ibom, Emmanuel Udom.

The Deputy Governors that represented their Governors are Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi of Ekiti State, Rauf Olaniyan of Oyo state, Prof Evara Esu of River, Ude Okochukwu of Abia State, Kelechi Igwe of Ebonyi State, Philip Shuaibu of Edo state and Placid Njoku of Imo state.