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Governors of South-South geopolitical zone join VAT legal battle at Supreme Court

by Business News Report

South-South geopolitical zone Governors have joined in the suit at the Supreme Court over the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) in Nigeria, which is currently ongoing between the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Rivers State Government. This was made known in a statement by the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa after the Governors meeting at the Governors Forum in Port Harcourt. The meeting was attended by Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; Chief Emmanuel Udom, Governor of Akwa Ibom; Godwin Obaseki of Edo; and Sen. Douye Diri, Governor of Bayelsa State. Okowa also added that South-South states have agreed to form a commission for regional security.

“The Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta (BRACED) Council after an extensive deliberation, resolved unequivocally to support the decision for states to collect VAT and resolved to join the suit before the Supreme Court.” On the issue of the formation of a commission for regional security, the communique added: “This is predicated on the fact that most of the BRACED commission states have already established their state security outfits.” The South-South Governors also petitioned President Buhari to appropriately constitute the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by following due process, citing optimism with the forensic audit report on the NDDC which they hope would be made public.

They added that President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly should take necessary measures to review some aspects of the recently signed Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) in the spirit of fairness and equity. They urged that NNPC subsidiaries and International Oil Companies (IOCs) head offices should be relocated to the Niger Delta and also pushed for the completion of some federal projects in the region. The Court of Appeal in Abuja granted the request of the Lagos State Government to be joined in the suit challenging the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) of states. 

The Lagos State Government had in the suit sought to join the Rivers State Government in the appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) against the judgement of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which empowered Rivers state to collect VAT and not the federal tax authority. The case was adjourned to October 7 and will be heard at the Appellate Court in Port Harcourt.

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