Governors back 7.5% VAT increase as Senate okays finance bill

State governors yesterday expressed support for the Finance Bill, which seeks to increase Value Added Tax (VAT) from five per cent to 7.5 per cent.

Vice-chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) and Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal disclosed this at the NGF monthly meeting in Abuja.

He said: “We are in support of that bill. We are in support of what will definitely improve revenue generation for the Federal Government and states.

“We are appealing to those who don’t have a proper understanding of the context of the bill to kindly have a rethink and reflect on the quantum of work that is ahead of us as a country and as states.”

He noted: “We need a lot of resources to turn around infrastructure, to invest in education, health, in virtually every sector of our national life. So, there is an urgent need for more revenue for Nigeria. We appeal that we should show more understanding with the Federal Government in that regard.”

This came as the Senate yesterday passed the Finance Bill. According to Senate President Ahmad Lawan, the bill “is not putting taxes on Nigerians.” He explained: “What government is trying to do with this bill is to create the revenue necessary for us to create the environment where we are able to provide schools, health care and have an economy that works for everyone. With time, we should look at things to do in case some hard unintended consequences come up.”

He also thanked the lawmakers “for passing the seven Acts in the Finance Bill, to ensure that we streamline the tax system in Nigeria and ensure that we get revenue for the government to provide infrastructure for this country.”