The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) has called on States feeling dejected over the raging Value Added Tax (VAT) imbroglio to rather look inward and develop their human resources capabilities to overcome whatever inadequacies in their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) model.
The President of the Institute, Mr. Taiwo ‘Gbenga Owokolade, FCIS made this known while fielding questions in a media parley bothering on current national issues at the ICSAN secretariat in Lagos.
Mr. Owokalade, a lawyer and corporate governance practitioner, revealed that most developed nations depend on their human resources endowments to make meaning out of their national lives.
“Since VAT is not on the exclusive list, it cannot be a solely federal government affairs”, hence running to the national assembly as is the case by the Federal Inland Revenues Service (FIRS), he described as a lazy way out just as weeping up sentiments, he explained, adding that the nation should rather see the court rulings on in the issue as the beginning of reality.
“Let us see how we can use it to restructure the system. States should look inward as there is no single model for development or growth”, the Corporate governance expert noted.
According to the ICSAN President, with VAT contributing just about 16 -17% to the country’s GDP, “the import of the judgment is that it speaks to the hearts of the people”.
“Let us be sincere with ourselves and engage. Take away emotions and sentiments, if some states do not have VAT, they should have other resources to develop and explore”.
Citing Dubai as an example, Mr. Owokalade said the emirate located in the desert aside from its endowed crude oil resources developed its human resources to become a world-class tourist destination, earning more from Tourism than crude oil.
The current realities may help in the redistribution of the population and build new competencies rather than “running away from our fears”, he said.
Also reacting in a similar vein to the newly signed Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) by President Mohammadu Buhari, the ICSAN President commended the federal government for finding the political willpower to pull it through where previous governments have failed to sign it into law.
According to Mr. Owokalade, as expected, there will continue to be arguments on the adequacy or inadequacy of the 3% derivation granted to the host communities, however, it has become a reference point for other natural resources, he explained.
“There is never going to be a figure that will sit well with the parties concerned but we are making a statement with the issue going forward”.
As the institute commends the government for this sterling achievement, it urges the host communities to be much more involved and participate in the allocation, usage, monitoring and impact on the community to ensure corporate governance, regulation and disclosures. “Not about controversies but engaging in the process to ensure whatever derivation figure is granted has a positive impact on the community”, he advised.