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Southern Govs’ Forum advocates VAT collection by states

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…Reaffirm support for anti-open grazing law

GOVERNORS of Southern Nigeria on Thursday, met in Enugu, to deliberate on national issues and reviewed the state of the nation.

  In a communique presented at the end of their closed- door meeting held at Government House, Enugu, , the chairman of the Southern Governors Forum and governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu(SAN), said that the meeting reviewed the state of the nation and the progress made in the implementation of ban on open grazing of cattle in Southern Nigeria.

  According to the seven-point communique,  “the meeting expressed satisfaction with the rate at which states in Southern Nigeria are amending or enacting the anti-open grazing law.

  “This aligns with the uniform template and aspiration of Southern governors and we encourage the states that have yet to enact the law to do so expeditiously”.

  He said that the Southern governors resolved and affirmed the position that the collection of VAT fell within the powers of state governments.

  “We resolved to support the position that the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the state.

  “The meeting reaffirmed its earlier commitments to fiscal federalism and emphasised on the need to pursue its inclusion in the Nigerian Constitution through the ongoing constitutional amendment,” he said.

  Akeredolu urged the Southern states to leverage on the competence of their houses of assembly and representation in the National Assembly to pursue such goal.

  “The meeting agreed to encourage the full operationalisation of the already agreed regional security which will share intelligence and collaborate toward the safety and security of the region,” he said.

  He said that they were satisfied with the handling of issues surrounding the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and ownership of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by the larger Nigerian Governors Forum.

  “The meeting reiterated its earlier position that the next president of Nigeria will come from Southern Nigerian in line with the politics of equity, justice and fairness,” Akeredolu said.

  Nine governors and seven deputy governors out of the 17 states in Southern Nigeria attended the meeting.

  The governors present were Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom, Babajide Sanwolu of Lagos and Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta.

  Others are Governors Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo, Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun, Douye Diri of Bayelsa, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun.

  The deputy governors in attendance are; Bisi Egbeyemi of Ekiti, Rauf Olaniyan of Oyo, Dr Kelechi Igwe of Ebonyi, Chief Ude Oko-Chukwu of Abia, Philip Shuaibu of Edo, Prof. Ivara Esu of Cross River and Prof. Placid Njoku of Imo.

  Rivers State would host the next meeting of the Southern governors which will hold in Rivers in November.

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