Good or bad for the Nigerian economy is the trending and controversial issues surrounding the consumption tax called the Value Added Tax (VAT).
With uncertainty over the Supreme Court hearing of VAT, Katsina state Governor Masari was under fire, while that of Ondo Akeredolu thinks the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) planned amendment was dead on arrival. Governor Wike tells the Federal government to stop illegality first, where Gombe state fears the stoppage.
FIRS being the only statutory agency empowered by law to collect tax. Lagos, Kano, Rivers, Jigawa, Anambra, Delta, Katsina, Kaduna, and Oyo states top the beneficiary lists of VAT economic boom making more states to follow in this clamour.
Barrister Victor Okon called to the Nigerian Bar in 2019 after graduating from the University of Calabar, Cross River state has undying love and hunger to consume more knowledge. In this interview with ADETUNJI AYOBROWN exploded his mind over many national issues.
What is the way out over issues of Value Added Tax (VAT) between FG, states and LGs?
Depriving the state of such funds would only amount to economic injustice. Where the goose that laid the golden eggs are made to suffer economically. It does not make any logical sense for any state of the federation to generate consumption tax while others expect such revenue to be brought on the table for sharing. For example, in a state like Kano where beers and other alcoholic beverages and drinks are destroyed but the state is expecting to share from VAT generated from such. Most often, a state like Kano is getting bigger share than many others.
This irregularity amounts to imbalance as being agitated over the years by many states through restructuring, but states and the federal government can come to the round table for talks to find a common ground.
Through policy making, FG also has a stake in VAT collection because such would be determining how the nation’s economy swings. Using joint tax board and matter of legislation,
Despite federal character principles and beyond any illegalities, politics would always come to play, as many other states governors more than ever are joining the clamour for the collection of consumption tax.
That is why the call for true fiscal federalism is becoming higher by the day. States should not work like elephants and eat like ants. Earning as you generate is best. Because such monthly federal allocations are making states go lazy in their revenue generation drives.
What improvement do you envisage in Nigeria judicial system?
Justice delayed is justice denied. As litigation in Nigeria is a very slow process, the wheel of justice is grinding very slow. There are different cases in courts for many years, five, six, ten and even more years are still counting. Cases can start in January and roundup in September same year. But now, cases are started without knowing when it is going to end.
Judiciary is the last hope of the common masses. For this, there is a need for proactive synergies between all actors in the judiciary system. For any improvement of the judiciary system, all hands must be on deck to speed up the court process.