The Kogi State government has said some leaders in Nigeria are deliberately trying to make policies to divide the country following the insistence of Rivers and Lagos states for the states in the federation to solely collect Value Added Tax (TAX).
Kingsley Fanwo, the state Commissioner for Information, disclosed the state’s position on the subject matter in an interview on Friday.
A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, had last month restrained the FIRS from collecting VAT and Personal Income Tax (PIT) following litigation instituted by the Rivers State government, ruling that the state should take charge of the collection.
Subsequently, the Rivers and Lagos houses of assembly passed domesticated VAT bills, which have been signed into law by governors Nyesom Wike and Babajide Sanwo-Olu respectively.
Reacting to the development, Fanwo explained that the Kogi State government does not support the stance by Rivers and Lagos states despite having the right to due to its gateway status to northern and southern Nigeri.
“We are not created equally, and God that created us did not give us equal potential, and we have to support one another,” Fanwo said on Arise TV’sThe Morning Show.
“This call shows that some of our leaders are insensitive, self-centred and trying to make policies that will further divide the country.
“Kogi is bordered by about 10 states of the federation and a gateway to the north, south, to everywhere. And you know that thousands of vehicles transverse the state on a daily basis. It’s the mineral capital of Nigeria. When you look at our advantages, we should even be at the forefront of fighting for VAT to be completely retained in the state.”
According to the commissioner, some of the southern states leading the agitation currently have been beneficiaries of the present VAT sharing structure.
“When you look at the development of the South-West in those days — the cocoa house — and the groundnut pyramids in the north, the whole of Nigeria is reaping the benefit till today. And what we need to do at this material time as leaders is to stop thinking about ourselves alone.
“The position of governor Yahaya Bello on this is very clear: we will not jump on that bandwagon to call for the retention of VAT completely in the state. We are not created equally, and God that created us did not give us equal potentials, and we have to support one another.”