The ongoing dispute between the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Rivers state governments over the collection of value added tax (VAT) in the country deepened yesterday with the Abuja Division Court of Appeal that the Rivers government, FIRS, and the Federation Attorney General to maintain the status quo pending the hearing and decision of the VAT claims.
This is even so, as the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu , yesterday the state VAT law was signed less than 24 hours after it was passed by the state House of Assembly.
The state government has also applied to the appellate court to oppose the appeal lodged by FIRS against the ruling of the Federal Court of Justice Joining Port Harcourt, who stated that the Rivers state government and not the FIRS sales tax and income tax In the meantime, Governor NyesomWike of the state of Rivers has set up a four-person tax appeal committee to instill a new culture in which taxpayers and corporations have no hesitation in applying the relevant tax laws in the state .
A federal court in Port Harcourt ruled on August 9 of this year that the Rivers state government, not FIRS, should collect sales tax and personnel income tax in the state, a ruling FIRS appealed.
The three-member jury of the Court of Appeal, which heard the case under the direction of Judge Hassan Tsammani, ordered all parties to maintain the status quo and to refrain from any measures that would make the judgment of the Federal Court of Justice effective. Port Harcourt.
Justice Tsammani stated that it was appropriate and legal for the court to prevent the res (subject matter) from becoming ineffective as all parties on the matter had presented themselves to the court.
Consequently, the court ruled that the parties should not enforce the judgment of the Court of First Instance at Port Harcourt until the hearing and decision of the FIRS motion to stay enforcement of the judgment of the Court of First Instance.p>
The parties were also asked to maintain the status quo pending a hearing of a request from the Attorney General of Lagos State to join the matter as a party.
Advising the complainant / applicant, Mr Mahmud Magaji (SAN), filed an oral motion for an order that the status quo should be upheld until the hearing and decision on the application for interim injunction and suspension.
However, Mr. Emmanuel Ukala (SA N), Adviser to the Government of Rivers, and Mr. Oyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), Adviser to The Lagos State Government, both rejected the request for the status quo.
Mr. Tijani Ghazali (SAN), the Attorney General represented, in turn supported the motion to maintain the status quo.
Applicants had two days to provide their written addresses for pending applications, respondents had two days to submit and applicant had one Day time to comment on legal issues.
Onigbanjo had previously notified the court of her application to join the Lagos State government as a party on the appeal.
He argued that the request for stay of enforcement should first be made prior to FIRS’s request for stay of enforcement the request for suspension of enforcement should have. Majagi, citing the Pam V. Mohammed case, argued that the court could limit itself to day-to-day business.
But after the court heard the submissions of all parties, the court put the matter aside for decision on membership application.
The VAT law passed by the State House of Assembly last Thursday was immediately forwarded to the governor, who signed it around 11:00 a.m. yesterday.
State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, said in a statement that the governor had passed the “law for a law to collect and collect VAT on certain “signed goods and services yesterday at around 11:45 am after returning from an official trip to Abuja.”
At the inauguration of the four-member Tax Appeal Commission, Governor Wike asked them to focus on processing Focusing on complaints that arise from unwilling to pay their taxes, while also asserting themselves against those who believe that d he tax agency is doing what it shouldn’t.
According to Governor Wike, taxes are an important source of income for any government to increase its resources to implement its development agenda.
“It is one of these times very serious job what’s going on. So I believe that you must see this mandate as a duty of your state.
“No country can survive without taxes. And so you will do all you can to help the government and citizens do what they are supposed to do.
“I have confidence in you, the Chairman, that you will be able to do this.” to take the lead the members of the commission to do the right thing. ”In response, the chairman of the Rivers State Body of Tax Appeal Commissioners, Judge Bennett Eke Ugbari (rtd) noted that the state, like other federal states, generates sufficient internal revenue need to top up the legal grants it receives from the federal government.
This, he said, will allow the government to make its commitments and promises to the people of Rivers regarding infrastructure and other developments
“It is, therefore, the intention of the Commission to work with other relevant tax authorities in the state of Rivers to generate adequate internal revenue for the state.
” In executing ours Mission, the commission is guided by the principle of fair hearing, justice and equity. We will ensure that taxes are properly assessed and that every taxpayer in the state of Rivers pays appropriate taxes as required by the relevant tax laws. ”
Justice Ugbari (rtd) assured that the commission would exempt the tax their tasks conscientiously and conscientiously in fear of God. According to him, they will also operate in accordance with the goals, purpose of the Enabling Act and other tax laws of the State of Rivers. Commissioners sworn in by the governor were Judge Bennett Eke Ugbari (rtd), who will serve as chairman, Edwin Krukrubo, Owhonda Ihekwoaba Nobel and Mrs. Gift Sovins as commissioners.
In a similar development, Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has thrown his weight behind his colleagues at Rivers and Lagos explains his stance on the VAT issue and says he would take the same path if the constitution was in order.
Ortom, who spoke in Makurdi yesterday while answering questions from journalists, praised his colleagues for the giant step they have taken in domestication of the country VAT Act. He said he had already instructed the Attorney General and the Justice Commissioner to study the law and explain its implications.
His words: “I asked my Attorney General and Justice Commissioner to study the law and I leave know the implications.
“I don’t think it is wrong to accept the law as long as it is constitutional, regardless of whether it affects me positively or negatively.