Nigerians on Twitter have lauded Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike over his stance to stop the Nigerian Government from collecting Value Added Tax from the oil-rich South-South state.
On Wednesday, Wike had insisted that Rivers State money is not meant for “Abuja people” but for the development of his state.
A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt had on August 10 restrained the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) from collecting VAT and personal income tax in Rivers State.
Following the court’s judgement, Wike signed the VAT Law No. 4 of 2021 on August 19.
Although the FIRS had contested the ruling in the Appeal Court, it, however, failed to obtain a stay of execution it sought to prevent the state government from enforcing the verdict.
Nigerians have taken to their Twitter handles in commendation of the moves by the Rivers State government as some argued that it is the right step towards restructuring.
Below are reactions:
I love what Wike has started.
Each to her own state!
All Southern States should follow suit.
You canât destroy beer in your state, and expect the VAT from other states.
Hisbah should generate VAT for Kano.
— Rinu #EndSARSð¥ð« (@SavvyRinu) September 8, 2021
Thereâs too much injustice in the country.
Rivers generated N15bn in June, but got N4.7bn while Kano generated N2.8bn, but Kano got same N2.8bn.
Sometimes you donât want to believe these things exist.
We cannot continue to beg the FG for what belongs to us.
— GbÃ©nrÃ³ AdÃ©gbolÃ¡ Ù (@GbenroAdegbola) September 8, 2021
Some Northerner Govs are threatened by Wike’s resolve to start collect VAT for Rivers State, & Lagos preparing for same.
It’s over guys. Ur incompetence & extremism can no longer be funded by d hard work of other States.
Restructuring (True Fiscal Federalism) go stop nonsense
— FS Yusuf (@FS_Yusuf_) September 8, 2021
With Wike, Economic Restructuring will happen. FIRS is fighting a lost cause. They will try to amend the 1999 Constitution. They will try to stop Lagos & Rivers Government at Tankoâs Supreme Court. But they will fail. Kano must work to chop. The injustices in Nigeria is too much.
— NEFERTITI (@firstladyship) September 8, 2021
This Wike move is welcomed and is long over due, this is the kind of move that separates sheep from GOAT
— LAMASTA ðªï¸ (@PaulReuben_Lk) September 9, 2021
More southern governors need to stand with Wike on this VAT issue. E go benefit them well
— Chukwunonso (@nommy68) September 9, 2021
I wish Wike started this VAT conversation in 2015. A lot of people would have had sense by force.
— Kelvin Odanz (@MrOdanz) September 8, 2021
Twenty years from now, we will remember how as Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike started the fiscal federalism revolution. A parting gift to the people of his state and the people of Southern Nigeria, and Nigeria as a whole if you care.
— Lady B. (@KBUdeogu) September 8, 2021
VAT makes up about 20% of FAAC allocations to the FG, States and LGs.
To all of us kikiki-ing at our Sharia-complaint neighbours about Wikeâs VAT coup, thereâs a reason @followlasg has pushed to pass their own VAT law: together they account for more than 70% of all VAT revenue.
— PapaDonkee (@ose_anenih) September 8, 2021
This move from Wike will probably trigger competition among reasonable and resourceful States like Oyo State, Lagos State, Rivers, Delta,and some others. And it is going to be an healthy competition that will further grow States and make them more independent. Uhuru torch.
— Premier (@SodiqTade) September 8, 2021
Low-key the Southeast states have been the weakest links in the South Nigeria resistance.
See Wike and Akeredolu speaking up and acting while Umahi and Uzodinma are close to wearing school uniforms and Miyetti Allah hats to show loyalty
— Gene Grey (@EuginhoCortez) September 8, 2021
Wike raised a solid point. This unjust system has to be restructured. pic.twitter.com/eskuczjBGf
— Sola (@Advsola) September 8, 2021
I think all states should wake up and start generating income in their states. All these reliance on Federal Government is making some states lazy. Go and get competent hands to generate revenue. This VAT thing that Wike started is a good move.
— Mohammed Jammal (@whitenigerian) September 8, 2021
Now you can see clearly why some people are vehemently against restructuring. All those bigot, hater, tribalist and nonsense tags didnât stick. We are finally having these important conversations! I hope Wike, Sanwo-Olu and other Governors will fight this to the last.
— Dr. DÃpÃ² AwÃ³jÃdÃ©, FHEA (@OgbeniDipo) September 8, 2021
God bless Wike for instituting the VAT case. It’s rocking the Northern leeches to their foundation.
The Sharia practising states are hypocrites. Why seek to benefit from what you detest? They should continue destroying alcohol bottles
— Hon. Oke Umurhohwo (@OkeStalyf) September 6, 2021
SaharaReporters learnt on Wednesday that the FIRS wrote the National Assembly in obvious desperation to preserve its function of collecting the Value Added Tax.
The federal tax agency also demanded that the federal lawmakers approve for it, the establishment of the Federal Revenue Court of Nigeria.
A letter signed by the Executive Chairman of the FIRS, Muhammad Nami, and dated July 1, 2021, was addressed to the Chairman of the Constitution Review who is also the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase.
The letter with references number FIRS/EC/CWREP/0416/21/037 which was received in Wase’s office on July 2, was titled, ‘Request for sponsorship of a bill for the establishment of the proposed Federal Revenue Court of Nigeria and the insertion of Value Added Tax under item 58 of the exclusive legislative list’.
FIRS specifically pleaded with the National Assembly to include value-added tax collection in the exclusive legislative list.
It also sought the need to exclusively include all adjudication of tax disputes, including federal tax laws, companies income tax, petroleum tax, income tax, capital gain tax, stamp duty, VAT and taxes and levies as well as other laws, regulations, proclamations, government notices and rules to the federal collector.
The letter partly read, “The Federal Inland Revenue Service further proposes for the amendment of Section 251 (1) (b) of the Constitution of the FRN 1999 (amended) by removing the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal High Court only on anything connected or related to federal tax matters since same would be vested on the proposed federal revenue court.
“The Federal Inland Revenue Service also proposes for the insertion of value-added tax immediately after Stamp Duties under item 58 part II of 2nd schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the FRN.
“The Federal Inland Revenue Service appreciates the maximum cooperation and support we are receiving from your good office on tax matters generally.
“This has boosted our morale and determination to do more for the government in tax revenue generation.
“The FIRS, therefore, wishes to further request that the House of Representatives consider the request for the establishment of the Federal Revenue Court.”
The FIRS in the letter noted that Item 59 of the Exclusive Legislative List Part 1, 2nd Schedule to the Constitution of the FRN 1999 as amended vests the powers to make laws on anything related to tax matters in Nigeria, on the National Assembly.
It added, “Historically, the Federal Revenue Court was established by the promulgation of the Federal Revenue Court Decree No.13 1973.
“However, the enactment of Section 228(1) and 230(1) of the 1979 Constitution of FRN, renamed the Revenue Court to Federal High Court.
“This was further replicated by the Federal High Court Decree (amendment) 1991 Cap (60l LFN, now referred to as the Federal High Court (amendment) Act 2005 Cap F12 LFN revised edition 2010.
“This amended Section 7 of the Federal High Court Act (1991), conferred exclusive jurisdiction on the Federal High Court in relation to tax matters amongst others. Section 228(1) and 230(1) was further re-enacted as Section 251(1) (a) to (s), of the Constitution of FRN 1999.
“The FIRS hereby proposes for the insertion of Section 254(G) to 254 (L) in the 1999 Constitution of the FRN to provide for the establishment of Federal Revenue Court, the appointment of Chief Judge, power to make rules for the proceedings, the appointment of judges of FRC and the exclusive jurisdiction of FRC on federal tax matters.”
SaharaReporters, New York