From left: Gbenga Omotoso, Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy.

Amid the Lagos state moves for VAT collection as against the usual collection by the Federal Inland Revenue Service Lagos State National Assembly received a counter letter but the Lagos state government says it will not stop the bill.

Lagos State Government on Wednesday said that a letter written by the FIRS to the National Assembly seeking inclusion of VAT on the exclusive legislative list would not stop the bill on the tax currently before the state House of Assembly. 

According to reports, Lagos State Commissioner for information and Strategy, Gbenga omotoso said the state would go ahead with its VAT bill irrespective of FIRS actions.

Speaking in an interview with PUNCH, on Wednesday,  Omotoso said the state had the right to make laws to enable it to govern the people. 

He, however, added that “The FIRS has a right to write to the National Assembly to seek some concession in whatever aspect of any law it deems necessary; it is a right that nobody can take away from it; states also have a right to formulate laws that they think will help them in the business of government.

“As far as this revenue allocation matter is concerned, Lagos State has taken some steps that will further enhance its stability to go along the line that it recognises as a right in this debate over VAT.

“The process that the state government has started, there is nothing there that will make it reconsider it. The bill has been sent to the state House of Assembly and the House is already considering the bill. Irrespective of whatever the FIRS is doing, the Lagos State Government is not going to fold its hands and miss the opportunity for us to push the argument for true fiscal federalism forward.”

Meanwhile, on August 24, FIRS executive chairman, Muhammed Nami had written to the Lagos State Attorney General and commissioner for justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo, that FIRS will continue to collect tax in Lagos after the Lagos state government had directed the FIRS to stop issuing demand notices for payment of VAT in the state and also demanded FIRS render accounts, within seven days, of all sums collected as VAT in the current accounting circle in the state.

Speaking with the journalist in Abuja, on Wednesday, FIRS Group Lead, Special Operations, Matthew Gbonjubola, said VAT collection by state-level won't work gave insight on the VAT distribution between the tiers of government.

According to him, the revenue from VAT is administered under an arrangement that allows the Federal Government to collect 15 per cent; the states, 50 per cent; and local governments, 35 per cent.

The bill has, however, pass its second reading at the Lagos State National Assembly.

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