Bello Masari, Katsina State governor, has blasted his colleagues agitating for collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) by individual states.
He described the move as a joke.
Rivers and Lagos States recently set in motion plans to collect VAT directly from companies domiciled in their states.
The move by Rivers has been halted by a Court of Appeal and the state government has appealed the ruling at the Supreme Court.
At a meeting in Enugu on Thursday, governors from the southern region adopted the position of the two states by endorsing VAT collection at the state level.
But Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi, on Friday, denounced the position contained in the communiqué issued by the Southern Governors’ Forum, as he kicked against decentralised VAT collection.
Daily Trust reports on Sunday that Masari, who spoke before the meeting of the governors, said both Rivers and Lagos are reliant on population from other parts of the country to sustain their economy.
He expressed surprise that the governments of the two states would seek to isolate the rest of the country.
“First of all, this issue is before the Court of Appeal for determination, so I will not comment directly on it, but I will give you a scenario”, he said.
“What is Lagos without the rest of Nigeria? The market Lagos is boasting of is dependent on the larger part of the country. Benin Republic has a port, Togo has a port; do they have the population to back up the ports? Without us providing the demand part, what will be Lagos?”
He stated that all states benefit from each other in the revenue equation, adding that no state should look down on another because of its configuration.
“VAT serves them and us. We provide the bulk of the market because without the rest of the states, what is Lagos or Port Harcourt?” he stated.
“Any state that thinks it can survive in isolation is joking. We provide the demand that makes Lagos what it is.”