Allow FG collect VAT, Gombe begs Rivers, Lagos

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Gombe State Government has pleaded with Rivers and Lagos States to allow the federal government to continue collecting Value Added Tax (VAT) in their domains for distribution to other indolent states.

The plea comes amidst moves by Rivers and Lagos States to begin the collection of VAT, bringing the decade-long collection by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to an end.

While Rivers have already enacted laws and secured court judgement in its favor, Lagos State law, which will mandate it to collect the revenue, on Monday passed the second reading.

For Gombe, the two states and others willing to follow suit should be their brothers’ keepers by allowing the federal government collect VAT in their domains and share same to other economically-deficit states as is usually the practice.

“The VAT issue will have adverse effects not only on Gombe state but almost all the states of the federation,” Muhammad Magaji, Gombe commissioner of finance and economic development said at an event on Wednesday . “I was part of the discussion a few weeks ago by all commissioners of finance across the country.”

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Speaking at the start of a Technical Workshop on the development of the state’s Medium-Term Sector Strategy (MTSS), Mr Magaji also appealed to the governments in the entire southern region to put “sentiments” aside and “be their brother’s keepers.”

“The realisation was that only Lagos, Rivers and probably Delta states would be able to pull through without this VAT being administered centrally, and it is our appeal that we all put sentiments behind and work towards a federation that is one, by being our brothers’ keepers and ensuring that what is pull together at the center is distributed to be able to balance resources across the country.

“Don’t forget that the oil producing states collect only 13 percent derivation, so if you say every state will take whatever resources it has, that it means we are starting a very dangerous trajectory that will not augur well for the federation called Nigeria,” the commissioner added.

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