VAT

•Says NGF waiting for Supreme Court decision

GOVERNOR Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State said yesterday that the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, was waiting for the decision of the supreme court over Value Added Tax, VAT, collection.

Fayemi, who is also the chairman of the NGF, said Nigeria’s tax system was not only problematic but also confusing and needed attention.

Speaking in an interview on Arise Television yesterday, Fayemi said governors were awaiting the outcome of the case instituted by some state governors.

He said the governors’ forum was currently looking at the issues and consulting on the implications of the collection on state governments.

The governor said:  ”For us, at NGF, this is an issue we are looking at both legally and policy-wise. We are asking our experts to help us look at the implications for states.

“Our take is that the supreme court should accelerate decision on this, so we have clarity over who should be in charge of VAT – whether FIRS or states.  We will wait for the supreme court to have a decision on this.

“The important thing is that our tax system is problematic, confusing and contradictory, and we need to do a lot more to begin to clarify things, so we can have more efficient ways of collecting taxes.”

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On President Muhammadu Buhari’s calls for the cancellation of debt at the United Nations General Assembly, Fayemi said the federal government’s borrowing was for reasons and were specific loans.

He said:  “Nigeria is borrowing for reasons that are specific. The bulk of what we are borrowing is specific. If you look at what we are borrowing, you will see that these are specific borrowings and most attractive.”

Noting that the borrowings were in line with World Bank and IMF standards, the NGF chairman said:   “On the other hand, you have the Chinese infrastructure lending.

We can now quiz whether we should be using 97 per cent of servicing on debt. That’s a debate we can have.

“The issue is what are you borrowing for. Are you borrowing for consumption or infrastructure development?  Buhari needs to be commended on that.

“The question is we have revenue challenges…borrowing is a win-win situation for our country and economy.”

Recall that Southern Governors Forum had backed the collection of VAT by states, and not the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS.

Also recall that Rivers and Lagos states had enacted laws for VAT collection, as the Court of Appeal had directed that states maintain status quo, pending the determination of an appeal filed by the FIRS.

Rivers State government has also asked the apex court to set aside the order of the Court of Appeal to enable states to continue to collect the tax, described as consumption tax.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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