As the dispute between the Federal Government, Rivers, and Lagos States over Value Added Tax VAT continues to generate controversies, about five states from the northern part of the country have joined AGF and FIRS in the lawsuit against the two states claiming the rightful collectors of the tax.
Governors Sanwo-Olu and Wike
Image Credits || Vanguard
Before now, Kogi and Zamfara had expressed readiness to form a coalition with FIRS. Now, Adamawa, Plateau, and Kaduna states are joining Federal Inland Revenue Service in their appeal against the judgment of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt that empowered Rivers to collect the tax.
Recall that a high court had ruled against FIRS in the tax collection and ordered that Rivers was the rightful collector of the tax.
The FIRS, thereafter, challenged the judgment at the Court of Appeal seeking that the high court verdict should be set aside. This further propelled the Lagos State government to file a leave of the court to be joined in the suit against the FG agency.
In a communique issued a few days ago, the southern governors had met in Enugu State and resolved that all states should be statutorily in charge of tax, not FG.
The forum equally insisted that the next president after the expiration of President Buhari should come from the south citing fairness and equity as the main reasons for the resolution.
However, the position of the southern forum has generated resentment to the northern counterparts. Another contentious issue is the recent bill on pen grazing passed into law by all the governors excluding Imo State Governor.
Photo of southern Governors
image Credits || Punch
This explained the reason why, in a meeting held in Kaduna State last week, the Northern Governors kicked against the positions of the Southern fellow. They resisted VAT collections by states and the southern presidency saying it is illegal and unconstitutional.
In his reaction, Director-General of Progressive Governors, Forum, PGF) Salihu Lukman, faulted Sanwo-Olu’s alliance with Wike on VAT.
Lukman who spoke in Abuja on Sunday described the tussle as an excessive politicization of some APC leaders working with PDP elements to ensure power shift to the south in 2023.
He said the issue is highly disturbing and wondered why Sanwo-Olu, an APC member would be fighting APC-led government by working with the opposition member (Wike).
He further maintained he should have directly engaged with the government, and warned against the break-up of APC over power shift and VAT.
As all eyes are fixed on the Supreme Court, awaiting its verdict on the Value Added Tax, here is the reason why these five northern states joined FIRS in a lawsuit to fight Lagos and Rivers States.
The fear of the consequences if the final judgment goes against FIRS at the Supreme Court.
Image Credits || Nairametrics
As reported by the Guardian Newspaper, it is obvious that most of the northern states can't survive and cope financially without the VAT being given to them by the Federal Government.
However, if, at the end of the day, the verdict goes against FIRS at Appeal and Supreme courts, it might not augur well with those states.
So, the states understand the possible consequences if VAT is taken away. As a result, they want to take the fight as if it is theirs. To make things work faster, a source says their motion papers would be ready on Monday and will be filed on Tuesday.
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