The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Wednesday, insisted on Rivers State collecting the Value Added Tax from oil companies in the state.
VAT is a consumption tax paid when goods are purchased and services are rendered. It is charged at a rate of 7.5 percent.
Wike made this known at a stakeholders’ meeting in Port Harcourt, the state capital, while addressing Shell Petroleum Development Company and other representatives of oil companies and owners of big business owners in the state.
The Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt in its judgment last month in a suit marked FHC/PH/CS/149/2020 filed by the Rivers State Government held that the Rivers State Government had the powers to collect VAT within its territory.
The Federal Inland Revenue Service, on Monday, prayed the court to stay execution on the judgment.
But the presiding judge, Justice Stephem Pam, rejected the application, saying granting it would negate the principle of equity.
Wike had in that meeting with stakeholders shown live on Channels TV and two other stations, complained about the lopsided ways VAT is being shared in the country. He said Rivers generated N15bn in June 2021 but got N4.7bn while some states gets 100% of what they generated.
According to him: “Kano produced N2.8bn in June and also got N2.8bn as VAT. Sometimes you don’t want to believe these things exist.
“People say that let heaven not fall but sometimes I believe that heaven should come down so that everybody will rest…When we do the right thing, heaven is at peace. So, the right thing must be done at all times.
“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.
“I don’t want to be in the good book of anybody but in the good book of God.
“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,” he stated.
“I don’t want you to fall prey of 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.
“From this September, we will start collecting our VAT.
“We will not look back but seal up the premises of such companies.”
Governor also said that the state doesn’t need the Police Force to enforce the collection of VAT, as the state owned security outfit backed by the law can do the job.