The Governor of Ebonyi state, Dave Umahi has rejected the resolution of the Southern Governors’ Forum over the collection of the Value Added Tax (VAT).
Umahi, who is the Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum, said that his state will not join other Southern States to collect VAT.
According to him, the collection of VAT should be exclusive given to the Federal Government in order to grow the economies of each states.
The New Diplomat had reported that the Southern governors during a meeting which held in Enugu expressed their full support for states to have exclusive rights to the collection of VAT.
In the Communique issued by Chairman of the Forum and Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, Southern Governors declared that structural and fiscal federalism is a step in the right direction.
However, Umahi has now rejected the resolution, saying Ebonyi won’t pursue VAT collection.
The governor made this known while speaking during an interview session with Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ breakfast programme on Friday.
In his words, “In any gathering, the minority will have their say and the majority will have their way. For example, there was an issue that came up. I’m not sure it is clear to some of our colleagues on the issue of VAT but it is very clear to me.
“We (Ebonyi) took a stand as a state with our leaders on the issue of the VAT war that is going and so my deputy carried it on to say that this is what my governor is saying and this is what the state is saying and he went ahead to explain with some other deputies that represented their governors.
“But together they were in the minority and it didn’t stop the majority from coming up with their communiqué. When it comes up to implementation and voicing out, I will continue to say: this is where is I stand; if it is a choice, I will choose what would benefit my state.”
“When they (Southern governors) say that this VAT collection is part of true restructuring, I said I never believe in total restructuring; I believe in administrative restructuring.
“We have to be our brothers’ keeper; we have to see how we can grow the economies of the weakest states, otherwise, we will breed insecurity in those states.
“There is no way in a relationship that you will get 100 per cent of what you put in, it doesn’t work that way,” he added.
Speaking further, Umahi said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors in the Southern Governors Forum(SGF) are dishonest about their resolution on the zoning of the 2023 presidency to the South.
According to the Governor, the body language of the PDP governors is suggesting that the presidency won’t be zoned to the south.
“The truth remains that a number of us – the Southern Governors – that were in that meeting that did say that Presidency must come to South, especially PDP are not being honest.
“Why I said they are not being honest is that: let’s see what they come up with in their zoning in the next few weeks.
“One or two governors that own PDP, their body language suggests that and I can tell you from reliable source that they are not thinking that way just for their own interest.
“There are a couple of decisions taken at the Southern Governors’ meeting that I know that together, there is sincerity of purpose in that but when it comes to politics, I see the hands of Esau and the voice of Jacob,” the governor added.