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FIRS should continue to collect, redistribute VAT to states -Umahi

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EBONYI State Governor David Umahi has said that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) should keep collecting value added tax (VAT) and be redistributing to states.

The governor said this while speaking during a state dinner organised in honour of former Chief of Army Staff and Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Benin Tukur Buratai on Monday.

“Evil will continue to thrive if good people keep quiet. We must make Ebonyi State very exceptional by rising to the challenges,” he said.

“Ebonyi state is not in support of any state collecting VAT. We are in support that FIRS should continue to collect tax and share.”

Umahi noted that he was in support of true federalism, but it should focus on administrative instead of economic restructuring.

“When we shout true federalism, I say, I agree;, but it should be administrative restructuring.”

Ebonyi joins Kogi and Katsina states to openly oppose the collection of VAT by states.

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Controversies have continued to grow across the country after a Port Harcourt Federal High Court ruled last month that Rivers State government had the powers to collect VAT within its territory.

In response, through its house of assembly, Rivers State enacted the state VAT law and immediately expressed its readiness to enforce the judgment beginning from this month.

Last week, Lagos State followed suit by enacting and signing the state VAT bill into law.

The state joined Rivers State as a co-defendant in an appeal filed by the FIRS against the Federal High Court judgement.

But an Abuja Court of Appeal has ruled that all parties in the matter should maintain the status quo.

The case was adjourned till September 16 for a hearing.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Rivers State Government asked the Supreme Court to set aside the ruling of Court of Appeal.

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It also asked the apex court to order that the substantive appeal by the FIRS and all other processes be heard and determined by a new panel of the Court of Appeal.

On Tuesday, Ogun State joined the race as the bill to legalise VAT collection passed  second reading in the state house of assembly.

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