Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum, (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has said any venture that emerge out of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), should not be sole property of the Federal Government.
Fayemi pointed out that; “We do not believe that the Ministry of Finance (incorporated) and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources should be the sole owner of the company that has emerged out of the Petroleum Act.
According to him, “this is because we believe that the entire body of petroleum institution is the product of the federation and not the Federal Government.
“And we have suggested that the one body that belongs to both the Federal, State, and Local Governments is the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority in which we (the states) are all shareholders and if it is held in trust by the Authority, then we are a lot more comfortable in seeing that as a federation company rather than a Federal Government company.
“The second concern that we have expressed relates to the depletion of the federation account by the various percentages that have been earmarked for frontier states and host communities of the petroleum product. Without prejudice to what the host communities deserve.”
The Ekiti State Governor was speaking on Sunday evening, during a live television programme on THISDAY LIVE, an interview programme on ARISE TELEVISION monitored in Ado Ekiti.
On VAT controversy, on which Lagos and Rivers states have gone to court, the NGF chairman said: “For us at the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, this is an issue that we are looking both legally and politically.
“But our take on this is that the Supreme Court should accelerate its decision so that we have clarity over who should be in charge of Value Added Tax (VAT). Whether it is the Federal Inland Revenue Service, or States.
“States that have gone to court believe clearly that this responsibility evolves according to their own understanding of what the constitution says.
“The important thing is that our tax system is problematic, confusing, and contradictory. We need to do a lot more to clarify things so that it can give room for more efficient and effective collection of taxes.
He was of the view that there was nothing wrong in Federal Government’s decision to borrow money to finance projects, advising that there was the need to channel borrowed funds to regenerative ventures to strengthen the nation’s economy and generate more jobs for the citizens.
“The President Buhari administration ought to be commended on the utilization of money being borrowed. It has utilized these monies more on infrastructure development than consumption which has aided economic growth.
“Clearly, it would be great not to borrow but it would also be great to redirect the funds that we have to regenerative areas of our economy. Realistically, we have a revenue challenge which has not enabled us build an economy that responds to the yearnings of Nigerians.
“I don’t think there is anything wrong in the President as a major voice in international affair, particularly in Africa and the black world calling for a review of debt management and arrangements.”
Despite the economic challenges and hardship being faced by Nigerians, Dr Fayemi was optimistic that the All Progressive Congress, (APC) would still coast home with victory during the 2023 elections.
“Contentions are always going to happen. APC is a big Party with different tendencies and there will be contentions for and against.
“We are very confident that this Party will produce the next government in this country in 2023 but before we get there, we are more focused on the country now. The Party is more interested in the stability and security of Nigeria. What is happening internally is something we will resolve internally.