Following the emergency meeting of the Governors from the Northern part of the country on Monday, September 27, the Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) has backed the Federal Government in its position that it is statutorily empowered to collect Value Added Tax (VAT) through its agency, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
The Court of Appeal had ruled that status quo be maintained in the collection of VAT, with the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, at the recently-concluded United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, saying that FIRS nwill continue to collect VAT, following the ruling.
The Northern Governors, in a resolution read by its Chairman and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, in Kaduna, at the end of the meeting of the forum, said as responsible leaders, they are constrained by the fact that the matter [VAT] is sub judice.
They, however, noted that the judgment of the Federal High Court calls to question the constitutionality of VAT, withholding tax, education tax, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), National Information Technology Development Agency, 13 per cent derivation, National Economic Development Council and many others currently levied and collected by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
Another issue discussed was zoning of presidency for the next general elections where the forum unanimously condemned the statement by the Southern Governors’ Forum that the presidency must go to the South, saying, the statement was contradictory with the provision of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
Also, commenting on the security situation of the region, the Governors called for a sustained synergy and coordinated efforts between the Federal Government and Northern States, noting that such collaboration would produce outstanding results.