Governors of northern states in Nigeria have expressed disapproval for rotational presidency demanded by their counterparts in the south.
The governors met in Kaduna on Monday and deliberated on the 2023 presidency, value added tax, security challenges and other matters.
Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF) who is also Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong issued a statement on the outcome of the meeting.
He said “Some Northern States Governors had earlier expressed views for a power-shift to the three geo-political zones in the South with a view to promoting unity and peace in the nation.
“Notwithstanding their comments, the Forum unanimously condemn the statement by the Southern Governors Forum that the Presidency must go to the South.
“The statement is quite contradictory with the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended that the elected President shall:- score the majority votes; score at least 25% of the votes cast in 2/3 States of the Federation.”
The governors backed the Federal Government to continue collecting VAT through the Federal Inland Revenue Service despite laws passed by Lagos and Rivers to enable the states collect VAT.
“The judgement 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 Government as a sales tax. If every state enacted its own VAT Law, multiple taxation will result in increases of prices of goods and services and collapsed in interstate trade. VAT is not a production tax like excise, but terminal tax which is paid by the ultimate consumer;
“Another confusion is ignoring observation above and its ‘overall effect’. The reason Lagos account 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 judgement on the substantive matter between Rivers State and Federal Government, the matter is sub judice and Northern States Governors Forum would respect this,” the statement said.