The Southern Governors have expressed their full support for states to have exclusive rights to the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) paid on goods and services in the Nigera.
The governors made this resolution during the meeting which held on Thursday in Enugu State.
The VAT controversy has been generating heated debate in public discourse in recent times following the court ruling of the Rivers State High Court, barring the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) from collecting VAT in the Rivers.
Since the ruling, the Lagos State government has joined Rivers state in the battle as, the Lagos state assembly had passed the VAT Bill which has been assented by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Lagos had also applied to be joined in the lawsuit against Rivers State filed by the FIRS at the Appeal Court.
In another move, the Southern Governors during the meeting today declared their support for structural and fiscal federalism, arguing that the collection of VAT must fall under the powers of the state.
The governors also reiterated their stand on open-grazing ban as they urged every state in the region to as a matter of urgency pass the anti-open grazing bill into law.
This was contained in a communiqué issued after the meeting and read by Chairman of the Forum and Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu.
Present at the meeting are; Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state; Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State; Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State; Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom; Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State and the host Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.
Deputy Governors present included Rauf Olaniyan, Oyo, Bisi Egbeyemi, Ekiti, Philip Shuaib, Edo, Ude Okochukwu, Abia, Kelechi Igwe, Ebonyi, Placid Njoku, Imo.
Read the full text of the communique below;
The Nigerian Southern Governors’ Forum at its meeting of today, Thursday, 16th September 2021 held in the Government House, Enuqu, Enugu State review the state of the nation and the progress of implementation of the decisions reached in her previous meetings and further resolved as follows:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- Following from paragraph 3″ above, the meeting resolved to support the position that the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the States.
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.
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.
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.