States’ Collection Of VAT Beginning Of Restructuring -Itse Sagay
Prof. Itsejuwa Esanjumi Sagay (SAN), Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), has said the collection of Value Added Tax, VAT, by states is the beginning of the restructuring of Nigeria.
This is as states are divided over the decision of some of them to start collecting VAT instead of the status quo which saw the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, collecting the VAT and distributing to a portion to states.
Sagay made his position known in an interview with Independent.
When asked if states’ collection of VAT will lead to restructuring, he said, “Yes, I have heard a lot of people say that this is the beginning of restructuring, True Federalism and so on. It is a very small part of restructuring because we still have other things that have not been mentioned. We have the issue of resource control, state police. We also have the issue of local government which did not feature in any constitution. That is an area which is totally exclusively within state command and the state can create as many local governments as it wants but must fund it itself. What we are having now is federal type of unconstitution;ally created local governments, which is being paid for by the resources of all the country, including those states that have very few local governments created for them. Take for instance, Bayelsa state that has eight local governments, getting very little there and it is a major contributor to the funds of local governments. That to me, is not fair. Those are some of the things that are wrong which are currently going on. So, we should simply remove local governments from the constitution and allow states to create the numbers of local governments in the areas they want and fully fund it exclusively themselves. “