Lagos Assembly passes VAT, anti-open grazing bills

By AdvocateNews on 10/09/2021

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Lagos Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa
Lagos Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa

• Rivers’ VAT Law: Audacity to shame impunity of FIRS –Okocha

The Lagos State House of Assembly on Thursday passed the Value Added Tax Bill, with Speaker Mudashiru Obasa directing the Acting Clerk of the House, Mr. Olalekan Onafeko, to transmit a clean copy to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for assent.

The House also passed the bill that prohibits open cattle grazing in the state.

The two bills were passed after unanimous votes by the lawmakers at the sitting where the bills were read the third time.

Immediately after their passage, Speaker Obasa commended his colleagues for their passion to see that the state continues to grow.

“I thank you all for this historic exercise,” Obasa said.

The House had held separate public hearings on the bills on Wednesday, with stakeholders expressing support.

Meanwhile, former president of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Onueze C. J. Okocha (SAN) has lauded the courage of Governor Nyesom  Wike to challenge the constitutional impunity as it relates to VAT collection. 

A federal high court in Port Harcourt had placed a restraining order on the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) from collecting VAT in Rivers and directed the state government to take charge of the duty.

Following the court judgement, Lagos asked FIRS to stop issuing demand notices for VAT payments in the state.

The legal luminary noted how such singular courage of the Rivers Government to seek and secure the right interpretation of the constitutional provision has motivated other sub-nationals to also explore their rights as enshrined in the constitution. 

Okocha, who spoke on a TV programme monitored in Port Harcourt, stated that the Federal High Court’s declarative ruling in Port Harcourt reaffirmed that Rivers  Government was so empowered to collect VAT within its jurisdiction.

According to him, the Rivers State Government VAT Law, No. 4 of 2021, that has been assented by Governor Wike is also in line with the country’s constitutional provision.

He said: “Rivers State Government went to court against  Federal Inland Revenue Service ( FIRS) and won the case. FIRS later filed an appeal in the Court of Appeal. But returned to the Federal High Court to demand for a stay of execution. But, the court refused the application and dismissed it.”

The legal icon, who  pointed out that though the case is at the Court of Appeal and at the instance of FIRS, it could be a long legal battle that would get to the Supreme Court, but it would not stop Rivers State from collecting VAT within the State. 

Okocha explained: “So, the law now is that Rivers State Government is entitled to collect Valued Added Tax (VAT) in Rivers State. Any other state can make its laws on Valued Added Tax (VAT).”

Posted 10/09/2021 07:17:36 AM

 

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