Governors from Nigeria’s southern region insisted on Thursday that their states have the authority to collect VAT (VAT).
The declaration was made during the governors’ third meeting, which was held in Enugu State. The gathering was a continuation of previous ones held in the states of Delta and Lagos.
Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, the meeting’s host governor, and four other governors from the southeast region were absent.
The governors also stressed the need for regional Houses of Assembly and National Assembly members to use their legislative authority to push for the inclusion of VAT as a state responsibility in the ongoing constitutional change.
The 17 governors met in Asaba to urge joint efforts to address the rising insecurity, while in Lagos, they agreed to pass laws prohibiting open grazing and zoning of the presidency in their respective states by 2023 to the South.
They reaffirmed their earlier commitment to structural and fiscal federalism and emphasized the need for states in the region to leverage the legislative competence of their respective state houses of Assembly as well as the National Assembly to pursue its inclusion in the AU. They read a seven-point communique reached the meeting and signed by its chairman and governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu.
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The statement praised the speed with which the southern Nigerian states are passing or modifying anti-open grazing legislation.
They claimed that passing or changing the Anto open grazing regulations followed the standard blueprint and desire of Southern governors, and they urged states who have yet to do so quickly.
“We encourage 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”.
“We reaffirm our 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 Assembly as well as representation in the National assembly to pursue its inclusion in the Nigerian 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”.
“We express 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”.
“We reiterate our 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,” they said.