The governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has explained why he insisted that the State Government should collect its own Value Added Tax (VAT) and how the Federal Government tried to include it in exclusive legislative list thru back door.
Governor Wike made the clarification in a statement he posted on his social media handle on Wednesday.
Wike stressed that the state has consistently been shortchanged while northern states consistently reap where they did not sow.
Citing the case of June, 2021, he said:
“In June N15.1 billion was collected as taxes in Rivers State but N4.7 billion was given to Rivers State.
“N46.4 billion was collected from Lagos State but Lagos was given N9.3 billion.
“Kano generated N2.8 billion and was given N2.8billion.
“Have you seen the injustice in this Country ? I will not be Governor forever, it’s not about me but about the system.
“Let the right thing be done.”
In another statement credited to him, Wike reportedly said:
“You can’t destroy beer in your state in the name of sharia yet share from VAT on beer from other states. It is hypocrisy.
“Free money has promoted laziness. If you want to be a governor grow your state’s economy.
“You can’t contribute humongous numbers during elections that can’t translate to tax earnings for your state.
“If they can vote they should be able to work and pay tax.”
Going down memory lane, he narrated the efforts of the State Government to obtain the right to collect the VAT and how the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) tried to frustrate the effort.
He said: “We filed the Value Added Tax (VAT) collection action against FIRS and the Office of the Attorney General representing the Federal Government in 2020.
“In July 2021 the Chairman of FIRS wrote to the National Assembly through the Office of the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives to ammend the Constitution and empowered the Federal Government to collect VAT.
“They knew what they were doing was unconstitutional that’s why they wrote for the constitution to be amended to Include VAT in the exclusive legislative list.
“This was exactly what we were challenging in Court so they tried to include it through the back door.
“Corruption is not only about people collecting money, corruption is also doing things illegally,” he noted.
See the attached documents: