Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has insisted said beginning from September end, he will enforce the decision to stop the Federal Government from collecting Value Added Tax (VAT) from the oil-rich South-South state.
Wike lamented about what he described as the injustice in the country saying Rivers generated N15bn in June 2021 but got N4.7bn while “Kano produced N2.8bn in June but Kano also got N2.8bn. Sometimes you don’t want to believe these things exist”.
The governor said, “Rivers State is challenging FIRS from collecting VAT in Rivers State. I am not challenging FIRS from collecting VAT in Abuja. Let it be understood. But the law says Rivers must collect VAT in the state.”
“The Federal Government surreptitiously lobbied to amend the constitution to place VAT collection under the exclusive legislative list. We have challenged it and we have no apologies to anybody.
“You don’t bully a state like us. FIRS should be very careful. I have the political will to do a lot of things. If they continue to bully us, I will take all their offices in the state,” he stated.
The governor warned the oil companies and business owners not to remit their VAT to FIRS but the Rivers State Government.
“I don’t want you to fall prey of the people who think they can use force to take our money.
“If you want to take advantage and say you don’t know who to pay to, it is a lie, you know.
“From this September, we will start collecting our VAT.
“We will not look back but seal up the premises of such companies,” Wike warned, adding that the state does not need the Nigeria Police Force to enforce the collection of VAT but would use the state-created security outfit backed by the law.
iVotesNG had earlier reported that the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt in its judgment last month in a suit marked FHC/PH/CS/149/2020 held that the Rivers State Government had the powers to collect VAT within its territory.
The Federal Inland Revenue Service, on Monday, prayed the court to stay execution on the judgment.
But the presiding judge, Justice Stephem Pam, rejected the application, saying granting it would negate the principle of equity.
On Monday, the Lagos State Government toed the path of Rivers State as a bill to empower it to collect VAT scaled second reading in the state House of Assembly.