The Yahaya Bello-led Kogi State government has lambasted the Government’s of Rivers State and Lagos State over moves to retain the Value Added Tax.
Recall that Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers had recently signed a bill on VAT followed by an order requiring businesses to henceforth pay VAT to the state and not to the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
He signed the bill following a judgment by a federal high court in Port Harcourt restraining the FIRS from collecting VAT in the state.
Following the ruling, the Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led Lagos State government also passed a VAT bill and asked the FIRS to stop collecting VAT from businesses in the state.
Speaking on Arise TV on Friday, the Kogi State Commissioner of Information, Kingsley Fanwo, disclosed that the north-central state would not join Lagos and Rivers in its move against the FIRS.
According to Fanwo, the move by the two-state will only further divide the nation.
The commissioner noted that we are not created equally, and God did not give us equal potential.
Fanwo said, “This call shows that some of our leaders are insensitive, self-centred and trying to make policies that will further divide the country.
“Kogi is bordered by about 10 states of the federation and a gateway to the north, south, to everywhere. And you know that thousands of vehicles transverse the state on a daily basis. It’s the mineral capital of Nigeria. When you look at our advantages, we should even be at the forefront of fighting for VAT to be completely retained in the state.
“When you look at the development of the South-West in those days — the cocoa house — and the groundnut pyramids in the north, the whole of Nigeria is reaping the benefit till today. And what we need to do at this material time as leaders is to stop thinking about ourselves alone.
“The position of governor Yahaya Bello on this is very clear: we will not jump on that bandwagon to call for the retention of VAT completely in the state. We are not created equally, and God that created us did not give us equal potentials, and we have to support one another.”
Meanwhile, the Appeal Court sitting in Abuja on Friday has ordered the government of Rivers and Lagos State to suspends plans to start collecting the Value Added Tax (VAT).
Newsflash Nigeria understands that in its ruling on Friday the court asked both states to maintain the status quo pending the determination of an appeal that was lodged before it by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS.
A three-man panel of Justices of the appellate court led by Justice Haruna Tsammani said the order was to preserve the ‘Res’ (subject matter) of the appeal before it.
The court ordered all the parties that have subjected themselves before it to “refrain from taking any action to give effect to the judgement of the Rivers State High Court”, which gave the Rivers State Government the right to collect VAT revenue, instead of the FIRS.
The appellate court had deferred hearing of an application Lagos State filed to be joined as an interested party in the matter, till September 16.