From Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki
Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, has backed the Federal Government’s bid to retain the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) saying he was opposed to moves by Rivers and Lagos states to collect and administer the tax.
Umahi stated this in Abakaliki on Sunday during a dinner in honour of former chief of army staff and Nigeria Ambassador to Benin Republic, Tukur Buratai.
He said states demanding true federalism should restrict it to administrative restructuring as Ebony State would only support VAT collection by the Federal Internal Revenue Service (FIRS).
“Evil will continue to thrive if good people keep quiet, we must make Ebonyi State very exceptional by rising to the challenges. When we shout true federalism, I say I agree but it should be administrative restructuring. Ebonyi State is not in support of any state collecting VAT; we are in support that FIRS should continue to collect tax and share it,” he said.
Umahi who is also chairman, South East Governors’ Forum, lamented that the zone was losing about N10 billion every Monday due to IPOB’s sit-at-home order. He urged people of the zone to stop observing it as it was inimical to efforts to grow the economy of the South East.
“We are destroying our economy; the sit-at-home is not happening in the South West, the North is not sitting at home, each time we sit at home, we lose over N10 billion in our economy. Ebonyi State will not sit at home any day. I charge the commissioners to go out and ensure that civil servants come to work, and for the markets, I will personally be in the markets tomorrow, anyone who is no longer interested in owning shops can go home.”
He commended Tukur for the excellent services he rendered to the nation, and for assisting Ebonyi reduce incidents of insecurity during his reign.
Buratai praised Umahi for his infrastructural transformation. While describing the governor as a general in strategy and tactics, Buratai said Umahi had become a household name in Nigeria because of his ardent support for the welfare of army officers.