Governor of Ondo State and Chairman, Southern Governors Forum, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, has said the move by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to push for amendment of the constitution so as to put collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) on the Exclusive List would fail. Akeredolu stated this during an interview on “THISDAYLIVE”, a programme monitored on Arise News Channel, on Sunday.
The governor said, “The issue of VAT, looking at the constitution, is under the purview of the states. Southern governors have taken a decision to pursue fiscal federalism. I am a lawyer. This is not a tax that is under the purview of the federal government.
“We, the southern governors, clamour for true federalism and true federalism includes fiscal federalism. There is no room for equivocation. Southern governors have taken a decision. They know that the constitution did not give them the power to collect VAT and that is why they are clamouring for the amendment of the constitution.
“That amendment will be dead on arrival. Even if the governors agree to amend the constitution, the House of Assembly in the various southern states will never approve it. The amendment must follow laid down process.
“We are supposed to be a federation, but we have been operating unitary government, rather than the federal arrangement. That plan to amend the constitution over VAT will fail.”
According to Akeredolu, the recent comment by the governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, who opposed the move for states to collect VAT because the consumption tax forms 40 per cent of the allocation that accrue to his state, is his personal opinion. Akeredolu insisted that the southern governors were united in their resolve to push for states’ collection of tax.