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Ozekhome Knocks Malami Over Comment On VAT Saga

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Popular legal luminary, Mike Ozekhome (SAN) has taken a swipe at the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, over his recent comment on Value Added Tax (VAT).

Naija News had reported that Malami had in an interview said that no state had the power to collect VAT in the country, adding that it is the duty of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to collect VAT.

He said the collection of VAT in the country is on the exclusive legislative list, adding that only the National Assembly had the power to make laws on VAT.

He had said: “As you rightly know, the issue of the Value Added Tax is an issue on the exclusive legislative list. And the implication of being on exclusive legislative list matter is that only the National Assembly can legislate on it.

“The question that you may perhaps wish to address your mind on is whether there exists any national legislation that has conferred the power on the state to collect VAT. And my answer is no.”

But in an interview with The PUNCH on Sunday, Ozekhome faulted Malami’s claim that the collection of VAT in the country is on the exclusive legislative list.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria disclosed that VAT is in the residual list and is strictly within the purview of state governments to collect tax fo value.

He said, “Malami is dead wrong. There is nowhere VAT is reflected as a matter within the exclusive or concurrent list in the constitution of Nigeria.

“If anything, it is residual and is strictly within the purview of state government in our federal set-up.

“As of today, there is a judicial pronouncement on it by the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, to the effect that only states can collect and administer VAT.

“That remains the legal position today. Until that judgment is probably set aside, that remains the law of the land. The mere statement the Attorney General cannot alter this truism.”

Ige Olugbenga is a fine-grained journalist. He loves the smell of a good lead and has a penchant for finding out something nobody else knows. Gbenga is an alumnus of the prestigious Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo State and The Polytechnic, Ibadan.