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NGF awaits Supreme Court verdict on VAT

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The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) said on Monday that it was waiting for the verdict of the Supreme Court before taking any decision on the vexed issue of Valued Added Tax (VAT).

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Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, also the Chairman of the forum, stated this while featuring on a programme on Arise Television, monitored in Ado-Ekiti.

Fayemi said the forum believes that the controversy over VAT required both political and legal measures to be settled.

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“But, our take on this is that the Supreme Court should accelerate its decision so that we have clarity over who should be in charge of Value Added Tax (VAT), whether it is the Federal Inland Revenue Service, or States.

“States that have gone to court believe clearly that this responsibility evolves, according to their own understanding, on what the Constitution says.

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“The important thing is that our tax system is problematic, confusing, and contradictory. We need to do a lot more to clarify things so that it can give room for more efficient and effective collection of taxes,” Fayemi said.

The governor also emphasised the need to channel borrowed funds to regenerative ventures that would strengthen the nation’s economy and generate more jobs for the citizens.

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He said that there was nothing wrong in the recent call by President Muhammadu Buhari for a downward review of the nation’s debt portfolio, owing to the prevailing revenue challenges facing the country.

“The President Buhari administration ought to be commended on the utilization of money being borrowed. It has utilized these monies more on infrastructure development than consumption which has aided economic growth.

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“Clearly, it would be great not to borrow, but it would also be great to redirect the funds that we have to regenerative areas of our economy.

“Realistically, we have a revenue challenge which has not enabled us to build an economy that responds to the yearnings of Nigerians.

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“I don’t think there is anything wrong in the President, as a major voice in international affairs, particularly in Africa and the black world, calling for a review of debt management and arrangements,” he said.

The Chairman of the NGF also called for a comprehensive approach that would complement the National Security Response Strategy in tackling the lingering security challenges facing the nation.

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According to him, the challenge ultimately was that we must tackle insecurity not on a state-by-state basis alone.

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