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Northern Governors back FG policy on VAT

Northern Governors during a meeting in Kaduna.

Northern Governors Forum has decried the high level of conspiracies being perpetrated by some judicial officers in releasing and granting bail to arrested criminals.

The Forum Chairman and the governor of Plateau State, Mr. Simon Bako Lalong stated this while addressing newsmen on the resolution of their meeting with Northern Traditional Rulers, in Kaduna.

Mr. Bako Lalong said such attitude was sabotaging the ongoing fight against criminality, emphasized the need for the identity states to develop good and robust intelligence mechanisms as a panacea.

He said the forum called on the federal government to expedite action on the well-establish National Livestock Transforming Programme as a springboard in transiting from the open grazing system as wide practice in the North.

Mr. Bako Lalong pointed out that, the forum had considered the ongoing National debate on the collection of Value Added Tax VAT during the meeting.

“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 the following observations:

(a) 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 Inland Revenue Service.”

The governor stated that 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 Government as a sales tax. If every state enacted its own VAT Law, multiple taxations will result in increases in 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 consumers.”

NorthernTraditional Rulers.

The governor noted that, until the Supreme Court pronounces judgment on the substantive matter between Rivers State and the Federal Government, stressing that the matter was Sub-judice and Northern State Governors Forum would respect this.

According to him, the forum observed that some Northern States Governors had earlier expressed their views for a power shift to three Geopolitical Zone in the South with a view to promoting unity and peace in the nation., Stressing that, Notwithstanding their comments.

The governors appreciated the ongoing onslaught against banditry, kidnapping, and Boko Haram especially in the Northeast and parts of North West and North Central.

Mr. Lalong encouraged the armed forces and other security agencies to sustain the tempo to enable the security challenges to be permanently addressed in the shortest time.

The governor also stressed that the forum had received updates on the Renewable and Solar Energy project, saying that, the request for land for the project had been summited and are being processed by the Northern States.

The meeting received updates on activities of some Committees constituted by the Northern States Governors Forum and noted that recommendations contained are being considered with a view to coming up with implementation strategies

Reporting by Aminu Dalhatu; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino