Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, is said to be owing states in the country N41 billion on Value Added Tax, VAT.
Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State speaking to State House correspondents in Abuja said the matter was discussed at the Governors’ Forum meeting.
Badaru said, “We had briefing from the chairman of the FIRS and it dwelt on two aspects of tax issues. One is on the Value Added Tax, VAT, that is being collected by states and he informed the states where their positions are and the outstanding due to the states of about N41 billion that he believes the states have to pay and come up also with new technique and system that will help automatic collection and when the contractors are paid for both VAT and withholding tax; I think the states take and are willing to pay their outstanding.
“They are keying on the new platform which will help in VAT and withholding tax collection automatically from the states.This is very important; when we are talking of zero oil, taxes become very important in the future prospects of this country.
“So far, he mentioned that from January to date, about N40 billion was remitted from the states which has a significant increase compared to the what happened last year.”
Also answering question on EFCC’s investigation of security votes of some governors, he stated, “It was discussed at the Governors’ Forum and the position is that we will have our lawyers see the legality of doing that. After giving us the report then we will see the next line of action to take,” he said.
He also said that the briefed NEC and stated that states were owing, and appealed for the indebted states to pay up their debts.
The Deputy Governor of Benue State, Benson Abuonu, said that NEC agreed that the federal government should not withdraw security agents from the troubled areas that have security challenges, especially in the Middle Belt.
He said that the NSA briefed council on behalf of the various security agencies on the core issues of security nationwide.
“This ranges from kidnapping, gun-running, cattle rustling, tension between pastoralists and farmers, pipeline vandalism and communal clashes that exists nationwide.
“There is a synergy between the security agencies in tackling the menace of security issues in the county.
“Council noticed of course that there is lot of improvement in handling the insecurity situation in the country; a particular example that was given is the issue of pastoralists and farmers crisis in some parts of the country especially, North-Central part and indeed the North West and other parts.
“For instance, the deployment of Operation Whirl Stroke in Benue State has brought about improvement and especially put a near end to the killings that was very rampant in the area.
“We now enjoy relative peace in the place and of course, a point was made in the council that the military personnel in Operation Whirl Stroke for example should not be withdrawn in a hurry because we believe that their being there will bring about the needed stability that will enable the internally displaced persons to return to their various localities.
“So, we were made to understand that troops have been deployed to the various flashpoints and a lot of improvements is now being recorded and also that a new dimension has being brought in.
“There is a lot of plans going on regarding the handling of the security problems especially in the Niger Delta where pipeline vandalism is very high.”
In attendance at the NEC were Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Babangana Mungonu, the National Security Adviser, Kemi Adeosun, Ministers of Finance; Udoma Udo Udoma, Budget and National Planning, and Ahmed Idris, the Accountant-General of the Federation.