Nigerian tweeps back Lagos, Rivers states on VAT collection

Jesusegun Alagbe

Some Nigerians have taken to Twitter to express support for Rivers and Lagos state governments, who are leading the fight for Value Added Tax to be collected by their respective tax agencies.

This is as Lagos State House of Assembly on Thursday passed the Value Added Tax Bill into law, signifying that henceforth, the Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) will have the sole responsibility of collecting VAT from businesses in the state, as against the earlier tradition whereby the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) does the collection.

After the bill’s passage, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, directed the Acting Clerk of the House, Mr Olalekan Onafeko, to transmit clean a copy of the bill to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for assent.

Rivers State had earlier passed its own VAT law. In August, the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, in a judgment with suit number FHC/PH/CS/149/2020, held that the state government had the powers to collect VAT within its territory.

Reacting, Nigerian tweeps commended both Lagos and Rivers states for leading on the fight for federalism, citing that the VAT laws passed by the states would ensure equity.

A former media adviser to Kano State governor and Founding Curator, Global Shapers, Kano, Mr Salihu Tanko-Yakasai (aka Dawisu), tweeted, “Any northerner that’s attacking Wike on this VAT issue does not mean well for his region. On this I’m with Wike 100%. It’s time we look inwards & do some soul-searching on how to revive our economic status in this country. To me, this is a wake-up call to Arewa leaders & followers.”

A former Special Assistant to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr Reno Omokri, also tweeted, “Yesterday (Wednesday), Kano’s Hisbah destroyed 5,760 cartons of beer. Yet, Kano gets the lion’s share from VAT on beer. I’m with Wike! We must all insist on the rights of states to collect VAT as the court and law provides. The monkey should no longer work for the baboon to eat.”

Another tweep, @firstladyship, wrote, “In 6yrs, all Nigeria did was talk about Cow, RUGA, Miyetti Allah, Bandits, Herdsmen, Open Grazing Route & Reserve. Buhari introduced an aberration never seen before. He kept Nigerians busy with discussions that didn’t improve lives. I wish Wike started this VAT debate since 2015.”

Read also: FIRS writes National Assembly, seeks VAT insertion in exclusive legislative list

Also, Adele Adetona tweeted, “I love what Governor Wike has started. This VAT issue is long overdue. Let every state generate their own revenue and stop leeching on others. You can’t work in LAPO MFB and expect salary from UBA. This might be the perfect beginning to State autonomy in Nigeria.”

@DrealAdo also wrote, “On VAT, Wike is the checkmate. I hope the states will share with LGAs (local government areas) too without being short-changed. We that don’t like alcohol and swine shouldn’t partake in profit from them. Can’t be robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

Presidential aspirant and former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Kingsley Moghalu, had also on Wednesday thrown his weight behind the court ruling that VAT belongs to states, and not to be remitted to the FIRS.

“The Federal High Court ruling on VAT is the correct one, though we can expect litigation all the way to the Supreme Court. It strikes a strong blow at THE LAZY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT whose head once called our youth ‘lazy.’ Nigeria has long been a fiscally failed state,” Moghalu tweeted.

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