A seeming desperate political approach by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to oust states from collecting Value Added Tax (VAT) is likely to polarise the country the more, and spark a festering crisis.
FIRS is seeking to make VAT collection an exclusive federal affair. As a result, the revenue agency has approached the National Assembly to insert it in the constitution as part of the outcome of the ongoing amendment exercise.
But, the move is not going down well with the political leaders of the South Chairman of the Southern Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, who is also Ondo State Governor, says the plan will not receive their blessing.
According to him, the amendments sought by FIRS at the National Assembly on the controversial Value Added Tax will be killed at the state Houses of Assembly.
Governor Akeredolu, a Senir Advocate of Nigeria and a former President of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) says the law does not give power to the Federal Government to collect VAT and share it with other states, adding that VAT should be under the state.
“That’s the position of the law. The FIRS seeking for amendment is a confirmation that they don’t have the power. The amendment will be dead on arrival. Why seek an amendment to a constitution when the provision is so clear”, Akeredolu explains.
The governor spoke on Arise TV Sunday Talk Show hosted by Reuben Abati, insisted that if the federal government was to collect VAT for states, it can only get a percentage which the federal government can decide to share at the FAAC.
“You can only collect VAT on behalf of the states and hand their money over to them. You can only take a percentage there to help us to collect the money.”