From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Value Added Tax (VAT), security and economy of the North are the top agenda for the ongoing emergency meeting of the northern governors and council of traditional leaders from the 19 Northern states holding at Kaduna State Government House, Kaduna.
The emergency meeting was expected to the position of the region on some emerging national issues including the ongoing discussions around VAT.
But before the newsmen were asked to vacate the meeting chamber, Chairman, Northern States Governors’ Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Bako Lalong in his opening remark told them that, the meeting was a follow up to a similar one held in February this year where issues that concern the region were discussed.
According to Lalong, February’s meeting arrived at several resolutions bordering on improving the security of the region premised on enhancing the socio-economic prosperity of the people; addressing the humanitarian challenges of internally displaced persons; building synergy with the Federal Government and colleagues from other parts of the country among others.
“This Forum also received various reports from the Committees we earlier constituted and resolved to look into the Reports for implementation, while awaiting the completion of work on others. Various presentations were also made by individuals and corporate organizations for the development of the region which we all agreed to carefully examine.
“Today’s meeting is essentially to get an update on the progress made so far on some of those items particularly on addressing insecurity which is still a major concern in the region. We shall therefore take stock of how far we have gone in tackling banditry, kidnapping and insurgency and also chart the way forward.
“We shall also take a critical look at some new national issues that have emerged over the recent months and weeks to come up with a position of the region as well as adopt the best possible approach to ensuring that the interest of the region is protected and promoted.
“Key among them is the issue of Value Added Tax collection and the surrounding controversy”, he said.
Chairman of the Northern Council of Traditional Rulers and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, who led his colleagues from other 18 states charged the political figures on the need to set implementation timeline for all the outcomes of such meetings.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, commended the participants at the meeting for their ability to respond to the call for the emergency meeting hoping that, the outcome would be in the best interest of the people of the region.
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