Southern governors back state collection of VAT

State governors in the Southern part of the country has backed the Value Added Tax (VAT) reforms ongoing.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Rivers State government were recently fighting over who should collect VAT in the oil-rich state.

Banking on the constitution, Governor Nyesom Wike said the state was entitled to collect VAT, a submission a federal high court agreed with but is now being challenged even up to the Supreme Court.

Lagos State recently applied to join the legal tussle at the Appeal Court while the governor signed into law a bill that will empower the state to replicate what Rivers State threatened to implement.

At their meeting in Enugu on Thursday, the state helmsmen declared support for the reforms saying it was the prerogatives of states to collect VAT.

They also said they were satisfied with the implementation of their agreement with regards to open grazing, encouraging those lagging behind to follow suit.

Below is the full communique of the Enugu meeting.

The Nigerian Southern Governors’ Forum at its meeting of today, Thursday, 16th September 2021 held in the Government House, Enuqu, Enugu State reviewea tne state or the nation and the progress of implementation of the decisions reached in her previous meetings and further
resolved as follows:

1. Expressed satisfaction with the rate at which the States in the Southern Nigeria are enacting or amending the Anti- Open Grazing Laws which align with the uniform template and aspiration of Southern Governors and encouraged the
States that are yet to enact this law to do so expeditiously.

2. Encouraged the full operationalization of already agreed regional security outfits; which would meet, share intelligence and collaborate, to ensure the security and safety of the region.

3. Reaffirmed its earlier commitment to Structural and fiscal federalism as resolved at the inaugural meeting of the
Forum held on Tuesday, 11th May 2021 at Asaba, Delta State and emphasized the need for the Southern States to leverage the legislative competence of their respective State Houses of Assembiy as well as representation in the National assembly to pursue its inclusion in the Nigeran Constitution through the ongoing constitutional amendment.

4. Following from paragraph 3″ above, the meeting resolved to support the position that the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the States.

5. Expressed satisfaction with the handling of issues around the Petroleum Industry ACT (PIA) and ownership of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by the larger Nigerian Governors’ Forum.

6. Reiterated their 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.

7. The Forum thanked the host Governor, Rt. Hon. IfeanyiUgwuanyi, and chose Rivers State as the next host for the
Southern Governors’ Forum meeting in November 2021.

Arakunrin Oluwarotimí O. Akeredólu; SAN Governor, Ondo State and Chairman, Southern Governors’ Forum