The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has come out to say that the northern region of Nigeria is extremely blessed to the extent that they can survive on resources from the region without relying on money generated via VAT in Southern region of Nigeria.
Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the Director of Publicity and Advocacy, of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) made this known while speaking at a recent interview.
While reacting to the recent actions by the Governors of Lagos and Rivers States, who recently passed Laws directing that taxes generated in their respective states must be paid into the coffers of the state and not to the Federal Government.
Baba-Ahmed said: “I will advise that we wait to hear what the court says. However, even the fact that it has become an issue suggests that we really do need to address the fundamentals and the manner in which the federation works.”
He further said “We have always supported restructuring. We have always asked that a major and genuine shift initiative either by groups or the National Assembly so that matters like this be addressed properly.”
“If we don’t do that now, then we should get a leader that would do that in 2023. This administration appears not to understand the importance of restructuring; we do in the north, we recognise the fact that we need to change the manner in which we generate wealth and allocate.”
Baba-Ahmed reiterated that “The thing about is: the north wants restructuring; the north wants fiscal federalism. We are a rich region and we can live on what we have, even if we don’t have the billions that accrue to others states. Our poverty is not a kind of problem that we would break this country over.”
You would recall that a High Court sitting in PortHarcourt had passed a judgement in favour of the States collection of VAT, however, the Federal Inland Revenue Service had also gotten the injunction of an Appeal court stopping the said collection by the States, pending the determination of the filed appeal.