VAT Battle: We Are Not at War with FG over Tax Collection, Says Wike

VAT Battle: We Are Not at War with FG over Tax Collection, Says Wike

  • Governor Nyesom Wike has clarified the controversial issue that Rivers state government is at war with the federal government over VAT
  • The governor recently stated clearly that the state is not at loggerheads with the federal government or any of its agencies concerning VAT collection by states
  • Wike who added that Rivers and the FG are equally guided by the constitution, also noted he is not in support of the present taxing system in Nigeria

Port Harcourt, Rivers state- The governor of River state, Nyesom Wike, has cleared the air concerning the Value Added Tax (VAT) collection issue between the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and some states.

This Day reports that Wike said his state was not at war with the federal government or any of its agencies.

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The governor made the clarification following insinuations in some quarters about hostility between the two tiers of government in the wake of the legal dispute over who is authorised to collect VAT in the state.

We are not at war with FG over tax collection, Wike clears the air
Governor Wike noted that in a federal system, the states are not houseboys of the federal government. Photo credit: Gov Nyesom Ezenwo Wike - CON
Source: Facebook

Wike made the explanation at a public lecture on Taxing Powers in a Federal System. He said Rivers and the federal government were coequals because they derived their life from the constitution.

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The public lecture was organised in commemoration of the 60th birthday of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Ahmed Raji.

Wike was represented at the occasion by the Rivers state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Professor Zacheus Adangor.

The governor said:

“I have heard a lot of comments been made that we are fighting federal government. There is no desire or any intention of the Rivers state government to fight the federal government, but you must remember that in a federal system, the states are not houseboys of the federal government.

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“The principle of coequality is fundamental to federal arrangement, that principle leads to the principle of autonomy, autonomy leads you to fiscal autonomy and fiscal autonomy leads you to fiscal federalism, and when you put all the principles together, what it means is that each level of government, whether federal or state, is coequal because none derives its life from the other."

Wike explained further that the taxing system being sought was one that would ensure homogenisation, adding that what operates today is not what was agreed upon at the constitutional conference.

The Guardian also reported that the guest lecturer and professor of Commercial Law, Abiola Sanni, appealed to the judiciary to make a definite and definitive pronouncement on the impasse surrounding tax collection in Nigeria’s federal system.

Presidency reveals President Buhari’s final decision on VAT controversy

Meanwhile, had earlier reported that the Nigerian presidency has said that President Muhammadu Buhari will respect the final verdict on the issue of Value Added Tax (VAT) as decided by the Supreme Court.

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The Nation reports that the presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, made the disclosure while speaking during an interview on Arise TV.

Adesina noted that though the case may drag up to the Supreme Court, the Nigerian leader would respect the rule of law.

VAT Controversy: North has nothing to lose, says APC chieftain

Relatively, as the controversy between some states and the federal government over who collects Value Added Tax in Nigeria continues to grow, a former member of the House of Representatives has said that the northern region has nothing to lose.

Aminu Jaji, the past chairman of the House committee on internal security and an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain said the north would continue to operate should the south insist on collecting VAT.

The Nation reports, that Jaji said the north cannot be moved by the south contention to hold onto VAT from Nigerians and their business in their various states.


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