By Emma Amaize

CENTRE for Human Rights and  Anti-Corruption Crusade, CHURAC, yesterday, said the Bill on Control of Value Added Tax, VAT, by State Governments before the House of Representatives was the answer to resource control agitation of the people of Niger Delta.

CHURAC in a statement endorsed by the chairman, Board of Trustees, BOT, Cleric Alaowei Esq., said: “The Bill sponsored by members of the House of Representatives, Hon. Hassan Usman Sokodabo and Hon. John Dyegh to alter Item 39, Part 1 of the Second Schedule to the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is the sour path to fiscal federalism.”

“The bill which is seeking to move the items set out in Item 39,  Part 1 of the Second Schedule to the Constitution from the exclusive list into the concurrent list will validate the resource control struggle. The same will in no doubt stabilize the polity thereby engendering a competitive economy.

“The bill if passed into law will mean that state government shall manage their resources, mines and minerals, including oil fields, oil mining, Value Added Tax(VAT), geological surveys as well as natural gas.

“Also, 50 per cent of the total revenue accruable from minerals shall be retained by the state where the minerals are derived; 30 per cent shall be credited to the distributable pool account, while the remaining 20 per cent shall be credited to the Federation Account.

“The bill in our thinking is retaining the derivation principles provided by the 1960 and 1963 Constitutions respectively. This is the gateway to the financial restructuring of the country. The nation will in no doubt experience speedy developments of an unimaginable proportion if the said Bill is passed into law.

“We commend the National Assembly for taking this bold step to solve the age-long revenue crisis in the country. The National Assembly should not throw away this very important bill. Of all the ongoing amendments to the 1999 Constitution, this resource control bill is the most important that can sustain the unity of this country till eternity.

“We appeal to the sponsors of the bill or better still the National Assembly to amend 44(3) of the Principal Act to make it in sync with the items sought to be altered in the Constitution. All Nigerians should queue behind the National Assembly to pass this bill.

“The time has come for us to depart from our ethnoreligious sentiments in propagating our core values as a nation. This country needs our collective imprimatur to practice true federalism which the House of Representatives has started. For us to survive as a nation in midst of the daunting challenges, we need to practice true and fiscal federalism.

“We use this medium to appeal to the National Assembly to increase the host communities funds in the Petroleum Industry Act from 3 per cent to 10 per cent in the proposed amendment to the principal Act.

“The NASS should consider the yearnings of the oil-bearing communities in the Niger Delta which bear the environmental degradation”, the group said.

Vanguard News Nigeria


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