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Southern States Will Collect Value-added Tax —Southern Governors |The Republican News

Nigerian Southern Governors

By Emmanuel Uzodinma

Southern Governors met in Enugu on Thursday, declaring that it is within their purview to collect the Value Added Tax, VAT.

This is coming amid row between the Rivers State Government and the Federal Government, a case that is now subject of litigation.

The governors also reaffirmed their stand on open-grazing ban, urging every State in the region to quickly pass a law to that regards.

A communiqué after the meeting was read by Chairman of the Forum and Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu.

Also present were Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta, Babajide Sanwolu, Lagos, Gbega Oyetola, Osun, Emmanuel Udom, Akwa Ibom, Nyesom Wike, Rivers, Dapo Abiodun, Ogun and the host Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.

Deputy Governors present included Rauf Olaniyan, Oyo, Bisi Egbeyemi, Ekiti, Philip Shuaib, Edo, Ude Okochukwu, Abia, Kelechi Igwe, Ebonyi, Placid Njoku, Imo.

The communiqué read in full:

The Nigerian Southern Governors’ Forum at its meeting of today, Thursday, 16th September 2021 held in the Government House, Enuqu, Enugu State reviewea tne state or the nation and the progress of implementation of the decisions reached in her previous meetings and further
resolved as follows:

1. Expressed satisfaction with the rate at which the States in the Southern Nigeria are enacting or amending the Anti- Open Grazing Laws which align with the uniform template and aspiration of Southern Governors and encouraged the
States that are yet to enact this law to do so expeditiously.

2. Encouraged the full operationalization of already agreed regional security outfits; which would meet, share intelligence and collaborate, to ensure the security and safety of the region.

3. Reaffirmed its earlier commitment to Structural and fiscal federalism as resolved at the inaugural meeting of the
Forum held on Tuesday, 11th May 2021 at Asaba, Delta State and emphasized the need for the Southern States to leverage the legislative competence of their respective State Houses of Assembiy as well as representation in the National assembly to pursue its inclusion in the Nigeran Constitution through the ongoing constitutional amendment.

4. Following from paragraph 3″ above, the meeting resolved to support the position that the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the States.

5. Expressed satisfaction with the handling of issues around the Petroleum Industry ACT (PIA) and ownership of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by the larger Nigerian Governors’ Forum.

6. Reiterated their earlier position that the next President of Nigeria must come from the Southern part of Nigeria in
line with politics of equity, justice and fairness.

7. The Forum thanked the host Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and chose Rivers State as the next host for the
Southern Governors’ Forum meeting in November 2021.

Arakunrin Oluwarotimí O. Akeredólu; SAN Governor, Ondo State and Chairman, Southern Governors’ Forum.

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Court Agrees With Rivers State On Value-added Tax, Throws Away Case By Buhari’s Government To Stop It |RN

■ FIRS in suit no FHC/PH/CS/149/2020 had through a motion on notice applied for a Stay of Execution on the earlier judgement of the court presided over by Justice Stephen Dalyop Pam, that declared that it was the constitutionally role of State governments to collect VAT and not FIRS.

AFederal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has dismissed an application by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, seeking to stop the Rivers State Government from collecting Value Added Tax, VAT in the State.

FIRS in suit no FHC/PH/CS/149/2020 had through a motion on notice applied for a Stay of Execution on the earlier judgement of the court presided over by Justice  Stephen Dalyop Pam, that declared that it was the constitutionally role of State governments to collect VAT and not FIRS.

Justice Stephen Dalyop Pam, in his ruling on FIRS application for a stay of execution, said the granting the application would negate the principle of equity.

He noted that the Rivers State Government through the State Assembly, has duly enacted Rivers State Value Added Tax No. 4, 2021, which makes it a legitimate right of the state to collect VAT.

According to the judge, every court in the country is constitutionally mandated to obey every legislation enacted by both the National and state Assemblies respectively.

He explained that the Rivers State government law on VAT remains valid until it has been set aside by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Justice Pam stated that since FIRS was ab initio acting in error by collecting VAT in Rivers State, and had huge burden of refund of those monies, there was need not to allow it incur further liability.

The judge declared that the FIRS application is refused and dismissed in the light of the fact that all subsisting laws concerning the collection of VAT stand in favour of the Rivers State Government.

Earlier, Justice Pam had read a letter that FIRS lawyers served the court seeking for stay of any ruling on their application.

But, in the absence of any requisite document that ought to have been attached to the letter, the judge dismissed the letter.

Speaking on the implication of the ruling, the counsel for Rivers State Government, Mark Agwu, said the Rivers State Government was still entitled to collect VAT within the State.

“Today, the court has delivered its ruling dismissing the said application for stay of execution, though without cost. In fact, the court’s reason is that if it should grant stay, it is more or less like over- ruling itself.

“And then, since the court is empowered to recognize all laws enacted by the National Assembly or the State Houses of Assembly, therefore, that law(Rivers) stands, it is a substantive law.

“Therefore, the issue of collection of VAT, as it stands today; Rivers State Government is still entitled to so collect. That is where we are today.”

In his reaction, the Rivers State Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Isaac Kamalu said the decision by the court confirmed the position that Rivers State had the authority to collect VAT.

Lead counsel to Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) Reuben Wanogho, said the court delivered its ruling on the basis of how it saw the facts of the case before it.

According to him, they did not agree with the ruling and already resolved to take all necessary steps to challenge it.  (Sahara Reporters)

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