VAT War: Gov. Wike vows to seal off defaulting corporate organisations

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Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, has threatened to seal off corporate organisations that fail to pay their Value Added Tax (VAT) to the state’s Internal Board (RIRB) by September.

He also vowed that government will go to court to demand that Federal Inland Services (FIRS) refund all the VAT they have collected from Rivers state.

Governor Wike made this public during a nationwide interactive session with Heads of Corporate Organisations and Agencies operating in aired on Wednesday in three national television stations.

According to him, FIRS has no Locus Standi to keep collecting VAT in after the Federal High Court Port Division has given judgment in favour of Rivers state to collect VAT instead of FIRS.

Said he: FIRS and the Federal Government have been cheating by collecting VAT from contractors the state governments awarded huge contracts and turn back to share same to 36 states and Abuja”.

Governor Wike also accused the Federal Government of starving his state of fund which he could have used for the development of just as he alleged that huge VAT collected from his state is shared while other states keep their own.

“I intentionally, invited three national television stations to carry this interactive session with Heads of Corporate Organisations and Agencies so that those in government in Abuja should hear all that I am saying today.

“There are a lot of injustices in Nigeria. For example, FIRS collected VAT of
N15.1Billion in June 2021 in but Rivers state was given a paltry N4.1b by the Federal Government as its monthly share of VAT return.

“Also, Lagos VAT in the same June 2021 was N46.2b but Federal Government gave Lagos a beggerly N9.3b as its share of VAT return. In the same vein, the total VAT collected by FIRS in Kano state in the same June is N2.8b yet Federal Government gave Kano state N2.8b as VAT return. You can see the corruption in Nigeria”, Governor Wike alleged.

He however vowed to implement the Federal High Court judgement which gave the power to collect VAT instead of FIRS in the state and warned Corporate Organisations and Agencies that he will come down heavily on VAT defaulters from September.

Among those who attended the meeting are Heads of banks, representatives of multi-national oil companies operating in Rivers state; contractors, owners of businesses and hospitality industry.