The governors of the states in Southern Nigeria under the aegis of the Southern Governors Forum has backed Rivers and Lagos states on the collection of Value-added Tax (VAT) by the states.
The governors made their collective stand known at the end of their meeting which was held on Thursday, 16th September 2021 at the government house, Enugu. The governors also maintain their initial stands on the zoning of the 2023 presidency to the south as well as anti-open grazing in the region.
In a 7-point communique signed by the chairman of the Southern Governors forum, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi O. Akeredolu; SAN; Governor, Ondo State and Chairman, Southern Governor’s Forum. It will be recalled that the River state government had taken the Federal Government to court over the collection of VAT by FIRS and won. Following the judgement, Lagos state government speedily amended their tax laws in accordance with the Judgement.
The full communique as released by the southern governors after their meeting in Enugu is as below;
The Nigerian southern Governor’s Forum at its meeting of today, Thursday, 16th September 2021 held in the Government House, Enugu, Enugu State reviewed the state of the nation and the progress of implementation of the decisions reached in her previous meetings and further resolved as fellows:
1. Expressed satisfaction with the rate at which the states in southern Nigeria are enacting or amending the Anti-Opening 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 Assembly as well the representation in the National Assembly to pursue its inclusion in the Nigerian 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 Bill (PIB) and ownership of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by the larger Nigerian Governor’s 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. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and chose River State as the next for the Southern Governor’s Forum meeting in November 2021.