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Buhari to Wike: Mind your language *Nobody is taking N’Delta money to North

By Editor on 13th Sep 2021

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Nobody is taking money meant for Niger Delta to the North, President Muhammadu Buhari, said on Monday cautioning Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike against making combustible statements capable of setting Nigeria on the edge.

Buhari conveyed his position through presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, saying Wike’s claim reportedly made amidst the current controversy surrounding the collection of the Value Added Tax (VAT), as tribalistic and aggressive.

Ngelale, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs,  argued that much as the governor reserved the right to pursue his case, the issues must not be skewed to have ethnic bent, stressing that the allegation that the Federal Government  was taking the money made in the oil-rich Niger Delta to Northern Nigeria, was misplaced.

Speaking on Channels TV breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, the presidential spokesman, debunked the suggestion that VAT was coming from only the states, arguing that contributions were also coming from the Federal Government.

Wike is currently at the Court of Appeal with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), over who is the fit and proper person to collect VAT revenue in Nigeria after winning a landmark court victory last month, where he got the nod to take the function away from the Federal Government.

FIRS had quickly rushed to the appellate court to seek for the overturning of the lower court’s verdict and for a stay of execution, which could not be heard last Friday, even though it gave an order for the parties to maintain the status quo.

Ngelale, incidentally an indigene of Rivers State, said: “I do disagree on the notion that states are by themselves generating VAT en masse and the Federal Government is trying to hijack (it).

“In 2020, the nation generated about N1.5trn in VAT. We have about 60 per cent of VAT coming from imports at the ports. As we know, ports infrastructure in the country is not controlled by the state governments, so they cannot say that it is their revenue; it is controlled by the Federal Government, it is federal revenue.

“Aside from the fact that we have a book coming from imports, we also have that second to Lagos is Abuja with about N202bn collected and the reason why is because Abuja is the site of federal ministries, departments and agencies and a huge bulk of that collection in the country was coming from VAT collected on contracts.

“So, when we create the impression that states collect these VATs and the Federal Government is hijacking it and trying to share it when in fact, it only (belongs to) Lagos or Rivers, I think it is a gross over-simplification. “Anything that will perfect our union should be embraced. Any conversation, any serious-minded discussion around how resources are managed is healthy for the country,” he stated.




Posted on September, 13 2021

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