Northern Governors hold emergency meeting over VAT controversy

Northern State Governors on Monday held an emergency meeting in Kaduna to discuss the progress and major concerns of the region.

From left: Kano state Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje; Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna state and Plateau's Governor Simon Lalong at the meeting of Northern governors and elders in Abuja on Monday, February 15, 2021. [Twitter/@InsideKaduna]

Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau State and Chairman, Northern States Governors Forum, said the 19 governors would also look at critical national issues that had emerged over the recent months with a view to coming up with a position of the region.

He said the Forum would also adopt the best possible approach to ensuring that the interest of the region was protected and promoted.

He said that collection of Value Added Tax and the surrounding controversies were among the key issues to be discussed.

“While getting update essentially on the progress made so far from the previous meeting held in February, we shall take stock of how far we have gone in tackling banditry, kidnapping and insurgency, and chart a way forward,” he said.

Lalong recalled that in February, the Forum had considered a wide range of issues concerning the wellbeing of its people.

He said a lot of Northern stakeholders were at the last meeting, including the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and other members of the National Assembly, the Chief of Staff to the President, Minister of Information and Culture; and the Inspector General of Police.

The chairman further recalled that the Forum also received reports from the various committees and resolved to look into the implementation of the reports, while awaiting the completion of work on others.

“Today, I look forward to robust contributions from all members that will lead us to arrive at very meaningful conclusions that will impact positively on the fortunes of our people,” he said.

In his remarks, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, Chairman of the Northern Council of Traditional Rulers, decried the lack of implementation of policies after resolutions had been reached in various meetings.

He noted that when an important issue was discussed, there was need to fix a time limit for proper implementation of the resolution.

“Last February, we had similar meeting; I want us to access how far we have gone in implementing those resolutions so reached at that meeting,” he said.

Abubakar expressed readiness to always provide support that would assist in developing the region.

He said that attendance of the traditional leaders at the meeting was a clear testimony of their commitment, adding that they were always ready to render support on common issues affecting the region.

Earlier, Gov. Nasir El-rufai of Kaduna state said the meeting was aimed at tapping ideas from the governors of the 19 northern states.

He said that the region was faced with various economic and security challenges as was being witnessed in other parts of the country.

“These have destroyed the rural economy and it is for this reason that we convened an emergency meeting,” he said.

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