The second meeting of the Body of Attorneys General of States of the Federation has ended in Lagos with a communique issued on key issues.
According to the communique, the body resolved to continue to resist, through legal means, the FG’s attempt to deduct states funds to offset a purported consultancy fee of N418bn arising from the London Paris Club Loan refunds.
The body asked the Federal Ministry of Justice, the CBN & other relevant agencies to cease all actions on the matter pending the conclusion of an appeal filed by the states.
On the ongoing court action concerning the rights of states to collect VAT, the body noted that the legal position will affect the economic viability of some states and it is therefore not opposed to a political resolution of the dispute to balance fiscal federalism with equity.
On the issue of stamp duties, the body resolved among other things to send its position paper opposing the proposed amendments to the Federal Govt, the National Assembly and all state Governors. And to seek legal action if the Bill eventually crystallizes into an Act.
The body also resolved to advocate the continued devolution of powers from the Federal to State Governments just as it recognises the Constitutional powers of the States to establish Anti-Corruption bodies.
On the FIRS’ threat to recover unremitted Tax Deductions by States and Local Governments, the body stressed that State Governments are equal and not subservient to the Federal Government.
They therefore resolved to send a written response to the FIRS, highlighting the agency’s erroneous position and that it lacks the power to impose any penalty on the States among other decisions.