THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the South-South governors to give backing to the recent legal move to reposition the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) to states. Chief Dan Orbih, national vice chairman of the party in the South-South, made the call on Saturday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Benin.

He said the recent judicial interpretation to the VAT law, which reposed in the federating states the powers to superintendent over the consumption tax, showed that the judiciary was alive to its responsibilities.

“The court has placed VAT where the duty rightly belongs,” he said adding that it would be a catalyst for grassroots development.

Orbih noted that the recent action to seek interpretation of the VAT law by Rivers and later Lagos State, was a big window for the South-South and indeed other states to achieve the long-desired quest for fiscal federalism.

“Yes, one must first commend the innovative and painstaking pursuit of this case by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers.

“This is a big window for the South-South states to achieve the long desired quest for fiscal federalism.

“With this development the long desired dream of many Nigerians for equitable distribution of resources has been given a very strong push.

“This is a bold and salutary move in restructuring our tax collection system. “The soundness in the economics of Wike’s action is seen in the speed with which Lagos State moved in the same direction toward pursuing the same objective,” he stated.

Orbih described the Rivers and Lagos states’ domestication of the VAT law as a nonpartisan action driven by the burning desire to give practical meaning to fiscal federalism. “I call on other state governors, especially in the South-South to move with dispatch in support of VAT collection and retention by states.

“And I say to them, the South-South governors, act now that the iron is hot.” The South-South PDP leader further said that the nation could not continue to practise political federalism with overbearing “unitary “economic policies.

He stressed that the action was in the interest of all. According to him, what the judicial pronouncement will achieve is that it will encourage states to work harder in boosting economic activities and engender healthy competitive spirit that will in the end make Nigeria better for all. Orbih, therefore, urged the other governors to embrace such welcome initiative and disregard the obvious but expected opposition from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

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