The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN), has enjoined states to take a cue from Lagos and River states on value added tax (VAT) and start looking at how to re-project themselves towards readdressing the reality and reaching self-sustenance.
The president of ICSAN, Taiwo Owokalade, who stated this at a briefing at its secretariat in Lagos to address some of the issues going on in the country, said states should start looking at how to re-project themselves towards readdressing the reality on ground.
“If you go through the exclusive list, you will not find VAT there. So, VAT is basically a sales consumption tax that should sit with the state and for whatever reason in the past, the federal government took it up and it became a federal thing and is now being shared among states government.
“That to an extent has become one of the strongest bases of our gross domestic product (GDP) in Nigeria and is contributes about 16 to 17 per cent to the GDP and that is huge because several states depend on what comes from that area.
“However, Lagos and River states have challenged the federal government through its agency, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in court which the two states won.
“The import of that judgement on Nigeria is for every state to face reality and start addressing those reality going forward. If they don’t have the VAT money, they have other resources that they could use to develop their states.
“We travel out of the country and we see the Dubai of this world, they were pure desert many years ago and with the capacity of the people to redefine their lives, and they made a meaning out of that life and they made more money from tourism than they make from oil that we here keep disturbing as if our lives start and end with oil.
“There is going to be some impact instantly, when you say you want VAT to reside in the state where it has been generated and that does not mean other states will die because the bulk of people who make life meaningful in Lagos are not Lagosians, they also came from other states.
“So, maybe it will help us even distribute the population on the right places because many migrated to Lagos because they think Lagos is much more prosperous. We need to put in place those methodology that will ensure that other states are much more viable,” he said.
Owokalade said there is no states in the country that is not endowed but what we have created for ourselves as a nation is that we have allowed the easy way out to run our lives and that is the place we have found ourselves.
“ For instance, there are several states in America that never had natural resources but they depend on human resources to make a meaning out of their lives and this is the same thing that we should start looking at.
“And for us as an institute, we would not shy away from addressing all these fundamental issues. We want to be part of the solutions to the problems of Nigeria and reconfigure the nation on the right path without looking at sentiment, emotions and tribal factors but focusing on the best thing to do for this nation.” Owokalade said.