VAT war escalates to Supreme Court

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Not satisfied with the impeachable order of the appeal court asking Rivers to maintain status quo in the push to collect VAT in the state, Gov Nyesom Wike has approached Nigeria’s Supreme Court.

“Justices of the Court of Appeal erred in law when they relied on the provisions of Section 6(6) of the Constitution and the inherent jurisdiction of the court to found their decision to make an order to maintain status quo which they identified as restoring the parties to the position they were before the judgment of the Federal High Court in FHC/PH/CS/149/2020 was delivered on 9th August 2021,” Rivers government argued in the notice of appeal.

“The learned Justices of the Court of Appeal erred in law when they wrongly assumed jurisdiction to entertain the oral application for maintenance of status quo made by the counsel for the Federal Inland Revenue Service (the 1st Respondent herein) in spite of the fact that a condition precedent to the invocation of the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal was not fulfilled by the first respondent.”

A federal high court in Port Harcourt on August 9 declared that Rivers, and not FIRS, should collect VAT and Personal Income Tax in the state.

The FIRS however appealed.

The Court of Appeal then held that parties should refrain from giving effect to the judgment of the trial court—until the appeal court hears and determines FIRS application.

Lagos has joined Rivers in the suit, and Gov Babajide Sanwo-Olu also signed the VAT bill into law that now empowers Lagos to rake in taxes from the state.

More states in the southwest and other regions have begun moves to pass similar bill into law.

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