Aminu Bello Masari, the Executive Governor of Katsina State has spoken against the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) by states, saying the North contributes to the economic development of Lagos and Rivers.

Masari while speaking in an interview with Daily Trust, echoed that the agitation over tax collection is a joke.

“What is Lagos without the rest of Nigeria? The market Lagos is boasting of is dependent on the larger part of the country.

Benin Republic has a port, Togo has a port; do they have the population to back up the ports? Without us providing the demand part, what will be Lagos?” Mr Masari said.

“VAT serves them and us. We provide the bulk of the market because without the rest of the states what is Lagos or Port Harcourt?” Mr Masari said.

According to him, “Any state that thinks it can survive in isolation is joking. We provide the demand that makes Lagos what it is.”

Mr Masari did not speak on how northern states benefit from alcohol taxes generated from southern states while Sharia-backed state police in the north continue to confiscate and destroy alcoholic beverages that cross state lines.

On Thursday, southern governors acknowledged the power of the states to collect the consumer-based tax following the landmark judgement of the Rivers division of the Federal High Court.

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The court held that the FIRS had no constitutional backing to collect taxes in the state and granted the power to collect the consumption tax to the Rivers government.

The revenue collection body had asked companies to ignore the court ruling and appealed the judgement, but Rivers and Lagos have ordered the enforcement of their Value Added Tax Law 2021.