The Federal Government has said the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) will maintain the status quo and continue to collect Value Added Tax (VAT), the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami announced. Malami made the announcement while speaking to the press in New York, United States on the lingering disagreement over the collection of VAT between Rivers State Government and the FIRS.
He said “The position of not only the Federal Government but indeed the judiciary is the fact that status quo associated with the collecting of VAT should be maintained,”
“And as far as the judicial system is concerned, the status quo as at the time the parties approached the court, it was the Federal Inland Revenue Service that was indeed collecting the value-added tax.
“So with that in mind, the Federal Government has succeeded in obtaining an order that establishes the sustenance of the status quo, which status quo is that the Federal Inland Revenue Service should continue collection.
“This is pending the determination of the cases that were instituted by states, particularly the Rivers State Government and the Lagos State government. The cases are being determined by the court.”
Malami further explained that issues between a state government and federal government should be handled at the Supreme court and efforts are in place to ensure the VAT issue is finally settled.
“But one thing of interest is the fact that the Federal Government had indeed taken cognisance of the fact that where there exists a dispute between a State and Federal Government, it is the Supreme Court that should naturally have the jurisdiction to determine the dispute between the state and the federation.
“And we are taking steps to consider the possibility of instituting an action before the Supreme Court for the purpose of having this matter determined once and for all,’’ Malami said.