Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, who is also the Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum has blasted the federal government’ s plan to amend the constitution which will allow the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, to continue the collection of Value Added Tax across the country.
Akeredolu while speaking during an interview on Arise News Channel on Sunday said the plan will be dead on arrival, he stated that even if the governors approve the amendment, it will never be approved by the houses of assembly in the various southern states.
He added that the Southern governors have taken a decision to pursue fiscal federalism which is part of the true federalism that people have been clamoring for.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria 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 houses of assembly in the various southern states will never approve it. The amendment must follow a laid down process.
He further added that Nigeria as a country is supposed to be a federation, but the country is operating a unitary system of government. Stressed that the plan to amend the constitution will fail.
He added, ” 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. ”