By Henry Uche
The Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators of Nigeria, ICSAN, has described the controversy over who is authorized to collect Value- Added Tax (VAT) between the federal government of Nigeria and States in the federation as unnecessary, saying that every State governor should focus on developing its human resources to boost economic growth and development.
At a media brief in Lagos yesterday, the president/ chairman of Council of the institute, Taiwo Owokalade, asseverated that there was no need heating the polity over VAT but both the federal and States government should look inward to see how they can give meaning to citizens by maximizing human, material and natural deposits.
“The governments across levels must strive to build their human and natural resources toward engendering self-reliance and more economic viability. The act of depending on federal allocation for survival by federating states will hamper industrial, enterprising and resourceful spirit of the people and encourage laziness. Let every State develop its potential,” he stressed.
ICSAN’s president charged both federal and state government to accept the outcome of the final pronouncement by the court, he urged tax, Legal and other professionals to aptly make their inputs to avoid escalating the issue, saying that there are more dire problems currently bedeviling the country which need to be tackled head-on.
“There is no need heating up the polity over VAT. We all are involved. We need to tackle more serious problems ravaging us as a country. Let every State look inward and bring the best from their human resources. If the court says VAT is the exclusive right of the federal government, does it mean the States cannot survive? Or if reverse is the case, does it mean the federal government cannot give people meaningful life without VAT?
“VAT is not an end, it’s just the beginning of the reality before us. So both federal and States government should prepare themselves rise to the leadership challenge before them. There are many things a government can do to deliver sound governance,”
According to him, it’s needless for FIRS to seek the intervention of the National Assembly over the issue. “Let every states also look inward to build their tax bases. Lagos is viable today because successive administrations developed its human capital. Other states should follow suit. Every State has unique resources which gives them comparative advantage over others, so lets harness what we have,”
“There are States and countries without Oil and Gas but they are very viable because they maximize their human resources. For us as an institute, we shall continue to be at the vanguard of addressing all these fundamental issues. We shall be part of the solutions to the problems of Nigeria and reconfigure the nation on the right path without any form of sentiment, but focusing on the best thing to do for this nation.”
Owokalade commended the president for signing the Petroleum Industrial Bill which was ignored by successive administrations. He sued for understanding between the federal government, host communities and other stakeholders to foster transparency, accountability and responsible delivery of sound governance.
He added that the move would open up the oil and gas sector and engender prudent management in line with world global best practices. “The Petroleum Industry Act is a welcome development as it would help give direction to the country’s oil industry, giving room for accountability and sustainable growth. There is need for proper governance structure, transparency and proper assessment to ensure the funds are used to impact the communities,” he added.
On her part, the Vice-President of the Institute, Funmi Ekundayo, hinted newsmen about the Institute’s forth coming annual conference holding on Thursday 16th and Friday 17th September in Lagos with the Theme: African Continental Free Trade Agreement AFCFTA & National Development: Issues, Challenges & Opportunities, which shall have the minister of Industry, Trade & Investments, and other seasoned experts in the business world.
According to her, experts would look into Nigeria infrastructural deficit and AFCFTA, What Connections, what solutions; AFCFTA And The Manufacturing Sector-Converting Into Opportunities and AFCFTA, A fresh Frontier for Chartered Secretaries/ Governance Professionals shall be sub -themes at the conference.
“The conference shall give us a sense of direction to explore the opportunities in AFCFTA and surmount the challenges,” she affirmed.