VAT WAR: Northern Elders challenges region governors to develop their own resources.


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Amid the VAT tussle between the southern and northern region, spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, has challenged the northern governors to wake up and develop their own resources without delay.

The controversial Baba-Ahmed made this statement this during an interview with Arise TV on Tuesday, while airing his views on  legal battle between Rivers state and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) over who will be responsible for the collection of VAT from businesses in the state.

Baba-Ahmed however decried the push for VAT collection by both Rivers and Lagos governors joining like Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe state; Aminu Masari of Katsina state, including David Umahi, governor of Ebonyi state, and Kogi state government, who have all condemned the push for VAT collection.

Despite this opposition, some southern governors are in support of states imposing and charging VAT.

“North, you said you have many people but you are under-developing your own people – the biggest liability of the north is that we have a huge population that is under-developed. You need to develop the human capital that you have,” Baba-Ahmed said.

“We need leaders, the current governors don’t recognise this. Otherwise, they won’t be involved in this argument; allow the court to decide.

“The VAT issue is a wake-up call for northern governors. If the supreme court rules in favour of Rivers and Lagos, what would governors in the north do?

“Northern governors should, without delay, develop their own resources; they should develop the huge agriculture resources to develop the north. The north has a huge population that is largely undeveloped. This population can be deployed into agriculture to develop the north.

“Agriculture is a major asset; we have land, we have water, we have livestock, we have minerals that are literally begging to be picked from the ground but our governors are too focused on the pittance that they are getting. This is wrong.”

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