The Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike, has warned oil companies operating the state against paying their Value Added Tax (VAT) to “Abuja people”.
He sounded the warning in Port Harcourt, the state capital during a stakeholders’ meeting with the oil companies and business owners.
“I don’t want you to fall prey to the people who think they can use force to take our money. If you want to take advantage and say you don’t know who to pay to, it is a lie, you know,” he said.
The governor who vowed to go ahead with the collection of the VAT despite threats by the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) said; “Rivers State is challenging FIRS from collecting VAT in Rivers State. I am not challenging FIRS from collecting VAT in Abuja. Let it be understood. But the law says Rivers must collect VAT in the state.”
“The Federal Government surreptitiously lobbied to amend the constitution to place VAT collection under the exclusive legislative list.
“We have challenged it and we have no apologies to anybody”.
He, however, threatened the FIRS that if it continues to bully his government, he would seal its offices in the state.
“You don’t bully a state like us. FIRS should be very careful. I have the political will to do a lot of things. If they continue to bully us, I will take all their offices in the state”.
“I don’t want to be in the good books of anybody but in the good books of God”.
Recall a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, on Monday, dismissed an application by FIRS, seeking to stop Rivers State government from enforcing an earlier court judgement vesting the power to collect VAT, within Rivers State on the state government and not FIRS.
Defiant FIRS despite the court ruling urged taxpayers, especially in Rivers State, to continue to pay their VAT to its coffer.