10 September 2021. Premium Times: Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has signed into law the State Value-Added Tax Bill as passed by the House of Assembly days after Rivers State government took the same route.
“The governor signed the ‘bill for a law to impose and charge VAT on certain goods and services’ at about 11.45 a.m. on Friday after returning from an official trip in Abuja,” Gbenga Omotoso, the commissioner for Information and Strategy, said in a statement.
“By this act, the bill has now become a law,” he added.
The Lagos State House of Assembly transmitted a clean copy of the VAT Bill to Mr Sanwo-Olu on September 9, through the acting clerk of the House, Olalekan Onafeko.
The bill passed through first and second readings on September 7 and was then handed to the House committee on finance.
While deliberating on the bill during plenary, Mudashiru Obasa, the House speaker, said it would further lead to an increase in the state’s revenue and infrastructural development.
“This is in line with fiscal federalism that we have been talking about,” he added.
Mr Obasa also said when passed, the VAT law would help the state meet challenges in its various sectors.
He also urged the state government to do everything legally possible, “to ensure the judgment of the Federal High Court was sustained even up to the Supreme Court”.
The speaker lamented a situation “where about N500 billion would be generated from the state while N300 billion was generated from other South-west states, but paltry amounts would be disbursed to Lagos state in return”.
Premium Times had reported how emboldened by a recent judgement of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, had in August signed into law a bill which authorises the Rivers State Government to henceforth collect VAT in the state.
Besides VAT, the court had ruled that Rivers State Government, and not the agent of the Federal Government – the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) – was authorised by the Nigerian Constitution to collect personal income tax in the state.
An attempt by the FIRS to challenge the ruling has not been successful.