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‘Be your brothers’ keepers’ — Gombe asks Lagos, Rivers to allow FIRS collect VAT

‘Be your brothers’ keepers’ — Gombe asks Lagos, Rivers to allow FIRS collect VAT
September 09
11:07 2021

Gombe state government has called on Lagos and Rivers governments to reconsider their resolution on collecting value-added tax (VAT) in their states.

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Muhammad Magaji, Gombe commissioner of finance and economic development, said this at a technical workshop in the state, according to a report by Daily Trust.

A federal high court in Port Harcourt had placed a restraining order on the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) from collecting VAT in Rivers and directed the state government to take charge of the duty.

Following the court judgement, Lagos asked FIRS to stop issuing demand notices for VAT payments in the state.

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Nyesom Wike, Rivers governor, went ahead to sign a bill on VAT collection into law. Wike also informed businesses that payment to the state government would commence in September.

Lagos followed suit in passing a VAT bill, which has scaled the first and second reading at the state assembly.

However, FIRS still insists that taxpayers must continue to honour their tax obligations under the VAT Act until the court of appeal or supreme court gives a final verdict on the issue.

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The commissioner urged both sides to put sentiment aside and their brothers’ keepers.

“The VAT issue will have adverse effects not only on Gombe state but almost all the states of the federation. I was part of the discussion a few weeks ago by all commissioners of finance across the country,” Dailytrust quoted Magaji as saying.

“The realisation was that only Lagos, Rivers and probably Delta states would be able to pull through without this VAT being administered centrally, and it is our appeal that we all put sentiments behind and work towards a federation that is one, by being our brothers’ keepers and ensuring that what is pull together at the center is distributed to be able to balance resources across the country.

“Don’t forget that the oil producing states collect only 13 percent derivation, so if you say every state will take whatever resources it has, that it means we are starting a very dangerous trajectory that will not augur well for the federation called Nigeria.”

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