Time will tell if Sanwo-Olu’s VAT interest is for Lagosians – a politician who clashed with Remi Tinubu

Lagos-based politician Arinola Oloko said time will tell whether Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu pursues the goal for Lagos State of collecting value added tax generated in its territory for residents or his political sponsors.

The Social Democratic Party candidate for the Lagos State House of Assembly, Eti-Osa 2 constituency in 2019, made this known in an interview with Sunday PUNCH Friday.

The educator was captured in a viral video opposing being called a “thug” by Senator Oluremi Tinubu during the public hearing on the constitutional review in May this year.

Oloko supported Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and Sanwo-Olu, for defending the agitation for fiscal federalism for the states of the country, claiming that state autonomy was becoming a reality.

VAT is a consumption tax paid on the purchase of goods and services rendered. It is billed at the rate of 7.5 percent.

The punch previously reported that the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt last month in a judgment in case number FHC / PH / CS / 149/2020, ruled that the Rivers State government had the power to collect VAT on its territory.

Although the Federal Inland Revenue Service asked the court to stay the execution, Judge Stephen Pam dismissed the request, saying granting it would violate the principle of fairness.

The appeals court sitting in Abuja on Friday, however, asked the parties to maintain the status quo.

WIke, who lamented injustice in the country, said Rivers State generated N15 billion naira in VAT revenue in June this year, but got N4.7 billion in return, while that Kano generated 2.8 billion naira in the same month and collected the same 2.8 billion naira.

He said that 46.4 billion naira was collected in Lagos state in the same month, but the federal government gave Lagos 9.3 billion naira. “Sometimes you don’t want to believe these things exist,” he added.

Wike also approved the Rivers State VAT Act 2021 in August after it was passed by the state’s House of Assembly.

Some states have since followed. Sanwo-Olu signed the state VAT bill on Friday a day after it was passed by the Lagos State House of Assembly.

Lagos has also requested to be joined as a defendant alongside Rivers State in the appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service challenging the judgment of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt regarding the issue of VAT collection.

Abuja Court of Appeal Judge Haruna Tsammani adjourned Friday to September 16 to hear Lagos’ request and called on all parties to maintain the status quo.

Commenting on the move from Lagos, Oloko said: “It’s a brilliant thing to do. Lagos is the center of excellence and with the amount of stuff coming out of Lagos, it’s a good thing that the money isn’t coming out of the state. We generate VAT. The state would have some financial control without going to Abuja for peanuts.

“The federal government cannot collect the money for something that we consume and produce here and at the end of the day, the state is still waiting for the federal government before it gets anything.”

The politician said governors should be accountable to the people and not to their godfathers.

“Whether he does it for the benefit of his sponsors or not, whatever the case, it has helped us open our eyes to the fact that we need to elect leaders who are responsible and consider us. .

“It’s a revelation for what lies ahead. We’ve all been talking about autonomy, this is just the tip of the iceberg of what it would look like when we finally have autonomy and what governors would be able to do and what they cannot. not to do. It is now up to us to say that this VAT which would be collected, will it be beneficial to us, ”she declared.

“If he (Sanwo-Olu) does it for someone else or for his people (Lagosians), we would know, time will tell. But everyone should open their eyes now and demand accountability and know where the money is going.

“My word to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is that it is time to be accountable, we want him to be accountable, transparent and responsive to Lagosians. There are people who are waiting to find out how the money will be spent if the state wins its VAT war.

“It’s a chance for him to show that when autonomy really comes, he will do the right thing and stand up for the people of Lagos State and no one else, I don’t want to name names. He should apply it where it should go. He should not only be looking at the money, but knowing that we are watching and that responsibility comes with the money.

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