Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has insisted on going on with his move to stop the Federal Government from collecting Value Added Tax from the oil-rich South-South state.
The governor made this known at a stakeholders’ meeting in Port Harcourt, the state capital, while addressing Shell Petroleum Development Company and other representatives of oil companies and business owners in the state.
Wike, who said he does not care if heaven falls, insisted that Rivers money is not meant for “Abuja people” but for the development of his state.
Wike said the state government would inaugurate the tax appeal commission on Friday.
“We will inaugurate the tax appeal commission by Friday to let you know that we are very serious,” he said.
“From this September we must collect all our VAT, if you like to play that kind of prank of collecting advice from your head offices, you will also listen for advice from your head offices by the time I seal up your premises.
“I will shut them down. I will be happy that in my time, that heaven came down.
“Rivers state government is fully in charge of this, and we will not hesitate to apply the sanctions under the VAT Law No. 4 of 2021.”
Speaking further, Wike said paying VAT to the federal government does not promote development in the state, adding that Rivers generated N15 billion VAT in June 2021 but only got N4.7 billion.
Recall that the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt in its judgment last month in a suit marked FHC/PH/CS/149/2020 held that the Rivers State Government had the powers to collect VAT within its territory.
The Federal Inland Revenue Service, on Monday, prayed the court to stay execution on the judgment.
But the presiding judge, Justice Stephem Pam, rejected the application, saying granting it would negate the principle of equity.
On Monday, the Lagos State Government toed the path of Rivers State as a bill to empower it to collect VAT scaled second reading in the state House of Assembly.