• Friday, September 29, 2023
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Lagos now few steps away from VAT, anti-open grazing laws

The Lagos State Government is now few steps away from actualising its push to begin demanding and collecting Value Added Tax (VAT) from business operators in line with the recent ruling of a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The state is also at the verge of making real the resolution of Southern Governor’s Forum to outlaw open grazing of cattle in Nigeria’s southern region, as a bill on anti-open grazing, on Monday, scaled second reading on the floor of the state House of Assembly.

As should be expected, the House has committed the anti-open grazing bill to its committee on agriculture for further legislative action. The next stages of the bill would be third reading, confirmation of clean copy by the committee of the entire House, after which it would be sent to the state governor for his assent.

And in a move to make good Lagos’ insistence on VAT collection, the House of Assembly, also on Monday, read for first and second time the state’s Value Added Tax bill and directed its committee on finance which is handling the matter to report back on Thursday.

Read Also: Anti-open grazing: Lagos, Ogun, Edo, Anambra, Osun delaying law

Mudashiru Obasa, speaker of the House, described the ‘Prohibition of Open Cattle Grazing Bill’ as timely and one that would ensure harmonious relationships between herders and farmers and protect the environment of the state and the southwest zone.

Obasa suggested that the bill should make provision for the registration of herders and prepare them for ranching.

“Allocating parcel of land is not enough but there should be training of those who would go into ranching,” he said noting that ranching is expensive and required adequate preparation.

On the bill on VAT, the speaker said it would lead to “increase in revenue and increase in infrastructural development. This is in line with fiscal federalism that we have been talking about.”

Obasa said the VAT law when passed, would help the state meet challenges in its various sectors. He called on the executive arm government to do everything legally possible to ensure the judgment of the Federal High court, in Port Harcourt, is sustained even up to the Supreme Court.

Obasa decried a situation where about N500 billion is generated from Lagos State while N300 billion is generated from other Southwest states and paltry amounts are disbursed to them in return.

“It is an opportunity for us to emphasise again on the need for the consideration of true federalism,” he said.

Speaking earlier on the bill on open grazing, Bisi Yusuff (Alimosho 1), lamented the havoc that herdsmen had caused in the South-western zone.

According to him, farmers have continuously become afraid to visit their farms thus causing shortage of food. He also said many farmers had become indebted as they now find it difficult to pay back loans they secured.