Human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), on Thursday, backed Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and his Lagos State counterpart, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for championing the agitation for fiscal federalism for states in the country.
Adegboruwa, in a statement made available to The PUNCH, said the collection of Value Added Tax by states is a “form of restructuring”.
The lawyer, who commended the Rivers State governor for starting a “revolution”, said enough of “feeding-bottle federalism and Abuja financial pilgrimage!”
In his statement titled, ‘State VAT Laws Is A Form Of Restructuring’, Adegboruwa said, “It is restructuring and I support it 100%. We’ve been shouting and crying for this lopsided federalism to be made equitable. Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable.
“I commend Gov Wike who started this revolution.
“I also commend Gov Sanwoolu, my LBS and Hon A-G, Onigbanjo and the Lagos House of Assembly.
“Other laws should follow. LASG should go to Lagos High Court to seek an order for immediate compliance with the VAT law by all persons and authorities doing business in Lagos State.
“It’s a good beginning. Enough of feeding-bottle federalism and Abuja financial pilgrimage!”
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt last month in a judgment in suit number FHC/PH/CS/149/2020, held that the Rivers State Government had the powers to collect VAT within its territory.
Although the Federal Inland Revenue Service applied to the court for a stay of execution, Justice Stephen Pam rejected the application, saying granting it would negate the principle of equity.
The governor, who lamented the injustice in the country, had said Rivers State generated N15bn VAT revenue in June this year, but got N4.7bn in return, while Kano generated N2.8bn in the same month and got the same N2.8bn back.
He had said that N46.4bn was collected from Lagos State in the same month but the Federal Government gave Lagos N9.3bn. “Sometimes, you don’t want to believe these things exist,” he added.
Wike had also assented to the Rivers State Value Added Tax Law 2021 in August after it was passed by the state House of Assembly.
Some states have since followed with the Lagos State House of Assembly on Thursday passing the Value Added Tax Bill, which Speaker Mudashiru Obasa directed that the Acting Clerk of the House, Olalekan Onafeko, transmit a clean copy of it to Sanwo-Olu for assent.
VAT is a consumption tax paid when goods are purchased and services are rendered. It is charged at a rate of 7.5 per cent.