The governor of Rivers State, Wike Nyesom on Wednesday, threatened to shutdown oil multinationals if caught for further payment of Value Added Tax to the federal government.
The governor said the money of Rivers was to be used to develop the state and not meant for ABUJA people.
Wike stated this during a stakeholders’ meeting in Port Harcourt, while addressing Shell Petroleum Development Company and other representatives of oil companies and business owners in the state.
The governor reiterated live on Channels TV and two other stations, where he decried the injustice in the country, adding that Rivers generated N15bn in June 2021 but got N4.7bn.
According to him, “In June N15.1bn was collected as taxes in Rivers State but N4.7bn was given to Rivers State, N46.4bn was collected from Lagos State but Lagos was given N9.3bn. Kano generated N2.8bn and was given N2.8bn. Have you seen the injustice in this Country ? I will not be Governor forever, it’s not about me but about the system. Let the right thing be done.”
Wike stated that he cannot continue to beg the Federal Government for what belongs to his state.
“People say that let heaven not fall but sometimes I believe that heaven should come down so that everybody will rest…When we do the right thing, heaven is at peace. So, the right thing must be done at all times,” he said.
Wike noted “Rivers State is challenging FIRS from collecting VAT in Rivers State. I am not challenging FIRS from collecting VAT in Abuja. Let it be understood. But the law says Rivers must collect VAT in the state.”
“The Federal Government surreptitiously lobbied to amend the constitution to place VAT collection under the exclusive legislative list
“We have challenged it and we have no apologies to anybody.
“I don’t want to be in the good book of anybody but in the good book of God.
“You don’t bully state like us. FIRS should be very careful. I have the political will to do a lot of things. If they continue to bully us, I will take all their offices in the state,” he stated.
Wike had warned the oil companies and business owners not to remit their VAT to FIRS but the Rivers State Government.
“I don’t want you to fall prey of the people who think they can use force to take our money.
“If you want to take advantage and say you don’t know who to pay to, it is a lie, you know.
“From this September, we will start collecting our VAT.
“We will not look back but seal up the premises of such companies,” he warned.
Congress gathered 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.
Meanwhile, 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.
VAT is a consumption tax paid when goods are purchased and services are rendered. It is charged at a rate of 7.5 per cent.