Legislature

Like Rivers, Lagos gets set for showdown with FIRS, as Assembly passes VAT Bill

Lagos State has joined the war against Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) as its House of Assembly on Thursday passed the state’s Value Added Tax (VAT).

Recall Rivers state government who passed a similar bill is currently at loggerheads with the FIRS despite court ruling that the state has the right to collect VAT within its sovereignty.

On Wednesday, the Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike, warned oil companies operating in the state against paying their 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 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”.

It is unlikely the FIRS will easily let go of Lagos, the commercial hub of the country.

The Lagos House Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, has directed the Acting Clerk of the House, Mr. Olalekan Onafeko, to transmit a clean copy of the Bill to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for assent.

The House also passed the bill that prohibits open cattle grazing in the state.

The two bills were passed after unanimous votes by the lawmakers at the sitting where they were read the third time.

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