By Emma Una, Calabar

Gershom Bassey representing the Southern Senatorial district of Cross River State at the Upper Chamber has thrown his support behind the Lagos State government and Rivers State governor Mr Nyesom Wike on the collection of Value Added Tax, VAT,.

Speaking with Vanguard in Calabar Senator Bassey said the collection of VAT by the federal government and sharing same among all states in the country is counter productive and makes the states lazy and ineffective in revenue generation.

“I believe in Devolution of Power and states collecting revenue generated within their states is part of that process. The states must be untied so that they go outside their comfort zone and that is what we have been advocating for in the Constitution Amendment Committee which I am a member.

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“This idea that many things are on the Exclusive List , to me does not make sense. The centre should free up the states so that they could be financially independent rather than keep going cap in hand like nannies every month to collect money which from records cannot even pay salaries”.

He said the present model of revenue generation and sharing should be adjusted to make the states become more viable.

“The fundamental issue is that if you collect VAT in Lagos State, Lagos needs infrastructure and if you collect in Rivers, the state also needs to be developed so why take the revenue else where to those who refuse to generate theirs”.

Senator Bassey said when states are allowed to collect VAT, the governor or whoever is in charge of revenue generation would be more up and doing and create more sources of revenue.

On Security, the Senator heaped the blame on the executive arm of government for failing to give heads of security agencies timelines on which to meet targets on stemming insecurity in the country.

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“Unless things drastically change insecurity would be an issue in the 2023 elections. In the National Assembly the only weapon we have is to make laws and and to talk and we have held three conferences and invited all those concerned and they told us their problems that is why we passed the 800 billon naira supplementary budget in record time four months ago but we have not seen much changes yet.

“We recommended the removal of srvice chiefs and it was one year before they were removed.

I don’t see the problem with giving someone you hand a responsibility bench marks or timelines and if he fails to achieve the timelines you relief him of that responsibility”

Speaking on the electoral reforms, Senator Bassey said the National Assembly is debating effectively on how to stem electoral malpractices on the country.

“With what we have in the Electoral Law, the process of voting has been changed and the final icing of the cake would have been the electronic transmission of votes, however, the process of voting has been finetuned and INEC has come up with a lot of rules such as accreditation being fully biometric so votes now have 90 percent of counting than 60 percent in the past”.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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