Wednesday, December 8, 2021

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Southern Governors back collection of VAT by states

Governors of the southern states of Nigeria have expressed total support for the collection of value-added tax (VAT) by state governments.

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

This comes as the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and some state governments are currently embroiled in a legal tussle over VAT collection.Rivers and Lagos state governments have enacted laws and called for decentralisation of collection, while FIRS want a centralised collection.

Last week, the court of appeal directed states to maintain status quo on VAT collection pending the determination of an appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

But Akeredolu Thursday said that the governors resolved and affirmed 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,” Akeredolu said.

“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.

Akeredolu, who is also the chairman of southern governors’ forum, 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 that 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 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,’’ Akeredolu said.

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