By Ogochukwu Isioma
The South-South governors have been encouraged to give backing to the recent legal moves to reposition the collection of Value Added Taxes, VAT, to the States where the duty rightly belongs.
The National Vice Chairman, South-South, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Dan Osi Orbih made the call in an interview on Friday.
Noting the recent amendments to the Value Added Tax law by Rivers State, and later Lagos State, Orbih described the development as a big window for the South-South States to achieve the long desired quest for fiscal federalism.
“Yes, one must first commend the innovative and painstaking pursuit of this case by Governor Nyesom Wike.
“With this development the long desired dream of many Nigerians for equitable distribution of resources has been given a very strong push.
“A bold and salutary move in restructuring our tax collection system.
“The soundness in the economics of Governor Nyesom Wike action is seen in the speed with which Lagos State moved in the same direction towards pursuing the same objective.
A nonpartisan action driving the burning desire to give practical meaning to fiscal federalism.
“I call on other State governors, especially in the South-South to move with dispatch in support of VAT collection and retention by States. We cannot continue to practice political federalism with overbearing unitary economic policies,” Orbih said.
Noting that the action is in the interest of all, he added: “What these amendments will achieve is that it will encourage States to work harder in boosting economic activities and engender healthy competitive spirit that will in the end make Nigeria better for all.”
Concluding, Orbih urged the other governors to embrace this welcome initiative and disregard the obvious but expected opposition from the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS.