The Nigerian Senate on Thursday, October 20, 2016 passed a bill to establish the North East Development Commission, NEDC, to be partly funded by 3 per cent of Value Added Taxes accruable to the Federal Government.
The commission is tasked with the responsibility of rebuilding the North East region after years of destruction by activities of the Boko Haram insurgents.
The senate also included Kano and Plateau states to benefit from the commission, citing that the two states had also been heavily affected by the activities of the insurgent group
The decision to include Kano and Plateau in the rebuilding plan followed a protest by Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso (APC Kano Central) that the two states were several times attacked by the insurgents
The North East states to benefit from the commission are: Yobe, Borno, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba.
The bill provides that the commission should be located in Maiduguri, the Borno capital and funded by 3 per cent of the federation’s value added tax (VAT) for a period of 10 years.
The other sources of funding of the commission would also include 15 per cent of allocation to the states as well as a 50 per cent deduction of the ecological fund due to the six North Eastern states.
However, the passage of the bill and the inclusion of the two new states sparked a protest by senators representing Lagos State who relaunch their push for a special funding for the state.
Two senators representing the state: Gbenga Ashafa (APC Lagos East) and Adeola Olamilekan (APC Lagos West) registered their protest while briefing newsmen after plenary.
Recall that Sen. Oluremi Tinubu (APC, Lagos Central), had sponsored a bill seeking strategic funding to lagos state.
The bill was, however, not passed by the senate as many lawmakers kicked against it.
In the briefing, the lagos senators renewed their demand for the strategic funding, urging the Senate to accommodate Lagos state by revisiting and passing the bill into law
The bill among others, requested the Senate to approve 1% VAT of the Federal revenue to Lagos state as a former federal capital of Nigeria.
The lawmakers, who hinted that the bill would be reintroduced in the Senate, said that “what is good for the goose is also good for the gander”, wondering why the Senate rejected the bill.
Ashafa said, “every one of us knows that 68 per cent VAT nationwide comes from Lagos.
“Two weeks ago, a bill by Sen. Oluremi Tinibu was presented; asking the Senate to approve 1 per cent for Lagos state as a former federal capital.
“This bill was not passed. We feel we should present our feelings to the press and Nigerians.
“We are appealing to Nigerians to assist us ensure that they give us listening ear.
“We the contributor of 70 per cent of the VAT income believe that 1 per cent is not too much.
“We are calling on the Senate to accommodate Lagos one per cent vat bill. It has been agreed by our constituents to reintroduce the bill and we believe that our colleagues and all Nigerians will support us,” he said. (NAN)