Umahi opposes VAT collection by states, backs FIRS

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David Umahi, governor of Ebonyi, says the state is not in support of Lagos, Rivers, and other states in their bid to collect value-added tax (VAT).

He said Ebonyi would continue to stick up for VAT collection by the Federal Inland Revenue (FIRS) and its subsequent distribution among the 36 states of the federation.

Since the Rivers state ruling, there has been a controversy around VAT collection between FIRS and state governments.

Last week, the court of appeal in Abuja directed Rivers and Lagos to maintain status quo (to maintain the situation as it existed before), pending the determination of an appeal filed by FIRS.

But Rivers has asked the supreme court to set aside the order of the appeal court.

Umahi, who spoke during a state dinner organised in honour of Tukur Buratai, a former chief of army staff and Nigerian ambassador to the Republic of Benin, said that true federalism should be administrative restructuring.

“Evil will continue to thrive if good people keep quiet, we must make Ebonyi State very exceptional by rising to the challenges,” Umahi said.

“When we shout true federalism, I say, I agree; but it should be administrative restructuring. Ebonyi state is not in support of any state collecting VAT. We are in support that FIRS should continue to collect tax and share.”

The governor, while urging leaders to speak up against dissenting voices that are capable of polarising the nation.

He said he was open to debate with any Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governor who feels he has delivered more democracy dividends to his citizens than the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration in Ebonyi State.

Apart from Ebonyi, Gombe state government had also called on Lagos and Rivers governments to reconsider their resolution on collecting value-added tax (VAT) in their states.

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