Nigeria

Katsina governor: Any state that thinks it can survive in isolation is joking

Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State has advised his colleagues to look for alternative sources of revenue apart from oil.

The governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari, says states campaigning for the sole responsibility of collecting value-added tax (VAT) are “joking”.

Masari said this in a recent interview with a national daily.

Since August, there has been a legal tussle over VAT collection between the Rivers, Lagos and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

While Rivers and Lagos had established a law to impose and charge VAT, Ogun state is considering a bill on VAT collection.

Despite opposition from Dave Umahi of Ebonyi state and Kogi state government, southern governors supported the decision.

On September 10, the court of appeal in Abuja ruled that states should maintain the status quo pending the determination of an appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

But Rivers state government had challenged its ruling, and the matter is pending at the supreme court.

“What is Lagos without the rest of Nigeria? The market Lagos is boasting of is dependent on the larger part of the country. The Benin Republic has a port, Togo has a port; do they have the population to back up the ports? Without us providing the demand part, what will be Lagos?” Masari said.

“VAT serves them and us. We provide the bulk of the market because without the rest of the states, what is Lagos or Port Harcourt?

“Any state that thinks it can survive in isolation is joking. We provide the demand that makes Lagos what it is.”

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