This was conveyed in a communique read out by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state at the end of the meeting.
The Governors who reaffirmed its earlier commitments to fiscal federalism and emphasised the need to pursue its inclusion in the Nigerian Constitution through the ongoing constitutional amendment, stressed that collection of VAT falls within the powers of the state.
Akeredolu who is chairman of the southern governors’ forum, urged Governors in the region to leverage the competence of their houses of assembly and representation at the national assembly to pursue the goal.
“We resolved to support the position that the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the state.
“The meeting reaffirmed its earlier commitments to fiscal federalism and emphasised the need to pursue its inclusion in the Nigerian Constitution through the ongoing constitutional amendment.”
The Governors also said collection of VAT by the state governments would go a long way in boosting their economic growth and development, unlike when the Federal Inland Revenue Service(FIRS) has the responsibility of collecting VAT which goes into the coffers of the federal government.
The forum also expressed satisfaction with the states in the region that have successfully implemented the anti-open grazing law in line with the decision reached during the meeting held in Delta State.
States in the region that are yet to implement the decision reached at its earlier meeting, were asked to expeditiously do so as it represents the aspirations of the people in the region.
“The meeting expressed satisfaction with the rate at which states in the south of Nigeria are amending or enacting the anti-open grazing law.
“This aligns with the uniform template and aspiration of governors in the south and we encourage the states that have yet to enact the law to do so expeditiously.
“The meeting agreed to encourage the full operationalisation of the already agreed regional security which will share intelligence and collaborate toward the safety and security of the region.”
The governors also expressed satisfaction with the handling of issues surrounding the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and ownership of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation by the larger Nigerian Governors Forum, and also demanded that the next president of Nigeria should come from the southern region in line with the politics of equity, justice and fairness,
“The meeting reiterated its earlier position that the next president of Nigeria will come from the south of Nigeria in line with the politics of equity, justice and fairness.”
The meeting was attended by Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, governor of Enugu, Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers, Emmanuel Udom, governor of Akwa Ibom, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos, Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of Delta, Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun), Douye Diri (Bayelsa) and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun).
The deputy governors in attendance were Bisi Egbeyemi (Ekiti), Rauf Olaniyan (Oyo), Kelechi Igwe (Ebonyi), Ude Oko-Chukwu (Abia), Philip Shuaibu (Edo), Prof. Ivara Esu (Cross River) and Placid Njoku (Imo). Anambra was not represented at the meeting.