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Nigeria: Southern Governors Insist On States Collection Of VAT, Next President Comes From South

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By Iliya Kure

State Governors from Southern part of Nigeria, under the aegis of Southern Governors Forum (SGF), have resolved to support the position that collection of Value Added (Tax), VAT, falls within the powers of the State Governments.

Their position is contained in a 6-point communique of the Forum, after holding a meeting on Thursday in Enugu, southeast Nigeria.

The Thursday meeting was to review the state of the nation and the progress of implementation of the decisions reached in the Forum’s previous meetings.

Reading the communiqué to journalists after the closed-door meeting, Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), said the meeting reaffirmed the Southern Governors commitment to fiscal federalism as resolved at the inaugural meeting of the forum held on Tuesday 11 May, 2021 at Asaba, Delta State.

According to him, the Forum emphasized the need for the Southern States to leverage on the legislative competence of their respective State Houses of Assembly, as well as representation in the National Assembly to pursue the inclusion of fiscal federalism in the Nigerian constitution, through the ongoing constitutional amendment.

“The meeting resolved to support the position that the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the States.”

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

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He stated that the Forum resolved to encourage the full operationalisation of already agreed regional security outfits; which would meet, share intelligence and collaborate, to ensure the security and safety of the Southern region of Nigeria.

The Forum Chairman said the Governors have maintained their position on the next President of the country, “we thereby 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,” he said

On the Petroleum Industry ACT (PIA), the chairman said the forum expressed satisfaction with the handling of issues around the PIA and ownership of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by the larger Nigerian Governors’ Forum.

The Forum thanked the host Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for the successful meeting and chose Rivers State as the next host for the Southern Governors Forum meeting in November, 2021.

Present at the meeting were the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike; Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa; Chief Emmanuel Udom, Governor of Akwa Ibom State and Governor of Osun State, Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola.

Others were the Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; Governor of Bayelsa State, Duoye Diri; Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and Governor Oluwaseyi Abiodun of Ogun State.

Oyo, Ekiti, Edo, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi States were represented by their Deputy Governors.

The Southern part of Nigeria is made up of 17 states with 3 geopolitical zones of the country, namely, South-East, South-South and South-West.

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