Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State on Thursday signed into law the bill on Value Added Tax (VAT) collection in the state.
Wike signed the recently passed bill by the Rivers State House of Assembly into law at Government House, Port Harcourt.
The move came on the heels of a judgment by the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, which had declared that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has no right collecting VAT among others. And that it was the responsibility of the state government to collect such taxes.
The FIRS has however appealed the ruling.
Wike maintained that the judgment of the Federal High Court had sufficiently addressed the illegality perpetrated by the FIRS.
“The Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has addressed the illegality perpetrated by the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) on behalf of the Federal Government in the collection of VAT in states.
The governor also signed into law the Open Rearing and Grazing Prohibition Law No 5 of 2021; The Child’s Rights Amendment Law No 2 of 2021.
Others were the Residents Registration Agency Law No 6 of 2021 and the Naming and Renaming of Infrastructure Law No 3 of 2021.
Wike pointed out that when agencies of the Federal Government were allowed to illegally demand and collect taxes meant for states to collect, they strangulate the states financially and turn them to beggars.
“But we (Rivers State) are standing on the part of history as representatives of the state to have taken the bull by the horn to challenge the illegality of the Federal Government through the Federal inland Revenue Services (FIRS).
“Of course, we are all aware that the states have already been strangulated.
“Most states depend on allocation from the federation account.
“States have been turned to beggars, hardly will any day pass that you will not see one state or others going to Abuja to beg for one fund,” Wike said.
He said no campaign of calumny or blackmail on the part of FIRS would make what was illegal become legal.
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