Wike, FIRS row worsens over VAT

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has threatened to seize FIRS offices if the agency continues to ‘bully’ Rivers over VAT payment.

Wike said this during an interactive session with corporate organisations in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, September 8, 2021.

The governor asked oil companies and other business owners operating in the state to start remitting their Value Added Tax to the state government beginning this September.

This is coming a month after a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt stopped the FIRS from collecting Value-Added Tax and Personal Income Tax (PIT) in Rivers state.

On Monday, September 6, the agency prayed the court to stay execution on the judgment.

But Justice Stephem Pam, dismissed the application, saying granting it would negate the principle of equity.

While addressing business owners on Wednesday, Wike said he won’t allow an agency of the Federal Government to dictate to a state government.

“An agency of government cannot dictate to a state government. If they will ever dictate but not to a state like Rivers because certainly, we will not allow it, the governor said.

“People say that ‘let heaven not fall’, sometimes I believe that it is important that heaven should come down so everybody will rest.

“We have challenged it, and we have no apologies to anybody. And the problem in this country is that no one wants to come out.

“And all these bullyings by FIRS…they should mind the state they are bullying, they should be very careful. You don’t bully states like us.

“I have the political will to do a lot of things. I am not one of those governors that will shy away from this or that. If they continue to bully us… all their offices in the state, I will take them. You should know those that you bully, not states like us… don’t try it.

Wike also argued that shares allocated to states from VAT collection are inequitable and unjust.

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