…Forum says, “It’s contradictory.”
…“VAT is being confused for sales tax by S/Govs.”
by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) on Monday unanimously condemned
Southern Governors Forum’s statement that the Presidency must go to the South.
The forum also stated that, until and unless the Supreme Court pronounced judgment on the substantive matter between Rivers State and Federal Government, the matter is sub-judice and Northern States Governors Forum would respect this.
The forum disclosed this in a resolution of its emergency meeting with Northern State Emirs and Chiefs held in Kaduna on Monday.
The resolution, signed by Chairman of the forum-cum Governor of Plateau State, Rt. Hon. Barr. Simon Bako Lalong, maintained that the Southern Governors’ statement “is quite contradictory with the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), as amended.”
“Notwithstanding their comments, the Forum unanimously condemned the statement by the Southern Governors Forum that the Presidency must go to the South,” it stated.
NSGF also stated that the elected President shall score the majority votes; “score at least 25% of the votes cast in 2/3 States of the Federation. In the case of run-up, simple majority wins the election,” the forum added
The Northern Governors Forum also considered the on-going national debate on the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT), saying, “As responsible leaders, while we are constraint by the fact that the matter is sub judice, we however, for the purposes of educating the public make five-point observations.”
According to the forum, the judgment of the Federal High Court calls to question the constitutionality of VAT, withholding tax, education tax, Niger Delta Development Commission, National Information Technology Development Agency, 13% derivation, National Economic Development Council and many other currently levied and collected by the Federal Government of Nigeria, Federal Inlands Revenue Service.
“Rivers and Lagos State Governments had enacted their own VAT laws and the Southern Governors Forum have expressed support for this course of action.
“VAT is being confused by these State Governments as a sales tax. If every State enacted its own VAT Law, multiple taxations will result in increases of prices of goods and services and collapse in interstate trade. VAT is not a production tax like excise, but terminal tax, which is paid by the ultimate consumer,” they stated.
“Another confusion is ignoring observation above and its ‘overall effect,’” they stated, saying “The reason Lagos accounts for our 50% VAT collection is because most of the telecommunication companies, banks, manufacturing and other trading activities have their headquarters in Lagos with the resultant and wrongful attribution of VAT.
“Until and unless the Supreme Court pronounces judgment on the substantive matter between Rivers State and Federal Government, the matter is sub judice and Northern States Governors Forum would respect this,” it added.
On their part, the Traditional Rulers Councils appreciated the efforts made so far by the NSGF in addressing the key areas of challenges facing the Northern States, and expressed their willingness and solidarity to collaborate with the forum in addressing these challenges, particularly the issue of security.
The forum equally resolved that perpetrators of crimes should be dealt with, irrespective of their status in the society, and decried the high level of conspiracies being perpetrated by some Judicial Officers in releasing/granting bail to arrested criminals.
“This attitude sabotages the fight against criminality. Therefore, there is the need to develop good and robust intelligence mechanism amongst States as a panacea,” they said.
The Forum equally called on agencies to leave up to their responsibilities: Traditional Rulers to equally mobilize their various communities in checkmating the ugly trend of criminality in their domains.
The Forum noted the ugly trend in the spread of drugs and consumption amongst the teeming youth and, therefore, called on all levels of governments and communities to rise to the occasion by stemming the tide.
The Forum also called on the Federal Government to expedite action on the well-establish National Livestock Transformation Programme as a springboard in transiting from the open grazing system as widely practice in the North