Nigeria

Southern governors back VAT collection by states

The governors of states in Southern Nigeria are currently in a closed-door meeting at the Government House, Enugu, newsmen report.

Governors of the southern states of Nigeria have expressed their support for the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) by state governments.

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State disclosed this while reading a communique at the end of a meeting of the governors on Thursday in Enugu.

Mr Akeredolu said the governors resolved and affirmed the position that the collection of VAT fell within the powers of state governments.

“We resolved to support the position that the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the state.

“The meeting reaffirmed its earlier commitments to fiscal federalism and emphasised the need to pursue its inclusion in the Nigerian Constitution through the ongoing constitutional amendment,’’ he said.

Some southern states such as Rivers and Lagos have already enacted laws to collect VAT while others are in the process of doing so.

Mr Akeredolu urged states in the south to leverage the competence of their houses of assembly and representation at the National Assembly to pursue the goal.

He said the meeting reviewed the state of the nation and the progress made in the implementation of the ban on open grazing of cattle in the south of Nigeria.

“The meeting expressed satisfaction with the rate at which states in the south of Nigeria are amending or enacting the anti-open grazing law.

“This aligns with the uniform template and aspiration of governors in the south and we encourage the states that have yet to enact the law to do so expeditiously.

“The meeting agreed to encourage the full operationalisation of the already agreed regional security which will share intelligence and collaborate toward the safety and security of the region,’’ he said.

Mr Akeredolu said the governors were satisfied with the handling of issues surrounding the Petroleum Industry Act and ownership of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation by the larger Nigerian Governors Forum.

“The meeting reiterated its earlier position that the next president of Nigeria will come from the south of Nigeria in line with the politics of equity, justice and fairness,’’ he said.

Newsmen report that nine governors and seven deputy governors out of the 17 states in southern Nigeria attended the meeting.

The governors present were Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta.

Others were Govs Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo State), Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun State), Douye Diri (Bayelsa) and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun State).

The deputy governors in attendance were Bisi Egbeyemi (Ekiti State), Rauf Olaniyan (Oyo State), Kelechi Igwe (Ebonyi), Ude Oko-Chukwu (Abia), Philip Shuaibu (Edo), Ivara Esu (Cross River) and Placid Njoku (Imo).

Anambra State was not represented at the meeting.

Newsmen also report that the next meeting of the governors will hold in Rivers in November.

The governors had previously held meetings in Asaba, Delta State and Lagos.

At the meetings, they called for a ban on open grazing and the shift of presidential power to the south in 2023, among other issues.

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