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Southern governors back Lagos, Rivers on VAT collection

by OtownGist
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The battle over the right authority to collect Valued Added Tax intensified on Thursday with the Southern states aligning with Lagos and Rivers governments.

They unanimously agreed that VAT collection falls within their powers and not the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) which currently carries out the function.

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The states also reaffirmed their earlier commitment to fiscal federalism and for the South to produce President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor in 2023.

These are the highlights of the positions taken by the governors at their meeting in Enugu.

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The meeting was their third after the maiden one in Asaba, Delta State in May, and the second in Lagos in July.

Present at the Enugu meeting were the Chairman of the forum and Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu); Ifeanyi Okowa(Delta) , Gbenga Oyetola(Osun), Babajide Sanw-Olu (Lagos), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Udom Emmanuel(Akwa Ibom), Duoye Diri (Bayelsa) and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun).

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The deputy governors present were Evara Esu(Cross River), Udo Okochukwu (Abia); Ekiti, Bisi Egbeyemu(Ekiti); Kelechi Igwe(Ebonyi) , Rauf Okaniyan(Oyo) ; Philip Shuaibu(Edo) and Placid Njoku(Imo).

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Akeredolu, who read a seven-point communiqué after the meeting said they reviewed the state-of-the-nation and the prospects of implementing the decisions they reached in previous parleys.

The governors, according to Akeredolu, expressed satisfaction with the passage and assent to Anti-Open Grazing Bills by the states. They encouraged those yet to enact their own laws to do so. They had set September 1 as the deadline for all the 17 states to have the law.

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Akeredolu thanked Governor Ugwuanyi for hosting the meeting and announced that the next would hold in Port Harcourt, Rivers State in November 2021.

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The communiqué reads: “The meeting expressed satisfaction with the rate at which the states in the Southern are enacting or amending the anti-open grazing law, which aligns with the uniform template and aspirations of the Southern governors and encourage the states that are yet enact the law to do so expeditiously.

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“The meeting agreed to encourage the full operationalisation of already agreed regional security outfits, which will meet, share intelligence and collaborate to ensure the security and safety of the region.

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

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“Following from the above, the meeting resolved to support the position that collection of VAT falls within the powers of the states

”The meeting expressed satisfaction with the army of issues around the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and ownership of NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) by the larger Nigerian Governors’ Forum

“The meeting reiterated its 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.”

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