Olaleye Idowu

The Continued efforts Pushing Value Added Tax Revenue status into an exclusive list with the understanding of giving the federal government power to adjudicate over has failed to yield any good fruits after all.

Sources told urban Express-News correspondent that all attempts at pushing the VAT Collection as exclusive powers of the federal government during the constitution reform had failed as the two chambers of the federal parliament would not debate the controversial issues of the Value Added Tax and Stamp Duty due to litigation.

The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Muhammad Nami, had a penultimate week, told the Senate Joint Committee working on the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, that the agency would soon approach the nation’s legislature with a bill to amend the Finance Act 2021.

The amendment, according to Nami, will centre basically on the issue of Stamp Duty and how to drag those transacting businesses on social media to the tax net.

Shortly after the federal lawmakers adjourned for the annual long recess, the FIRS sent a letter to the committees working on the constitution review at both chambers, seeking amendments to the constitution, to give it the sole power to collect VAT in Nigeria.

Recently, Nigeria’s Governors Forum dragged the FIRS to court on the issue of Stamp Duty.

Similarly, the governments of Rivers and Lagos states are in court with the federal tax agency,  seeking to take over the collection of VAT in their respective states.

A ranking senator, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity said the VAT and Stamp Duty issue would not be brought forward for debate.

He said, “We have it in our legislative rule in the National Assembly that we should not debate any issue that is pending before the court.

‘The implication of this is that we will not hold any debate on VAT and Stamp Duty if the cases had not been decided at the court.

“Even if the executive arm of government brings the Finance Act Amendment Bill 2022 and it contains the issue of Stamp Duty while the matter is still in court, we will not debate the Stamp Duty aspect.”

The Senate spokesperson, however, said the Senate would continue work on the issue of Constitution review.

Basiru said, “The issue of constitution review is still on course and the two chambers are expected to organise a retreat to finalise the work in September.

A member of the Constitution Review Committee told our correspondent on condition of anonymity on Friday that the memo by the FIRS chairman to push VAT into the exclusive legislative list had died a natural death.

He said, “ Both chambers would in a matter of weeks round off work on constitution review and submit our report to the whole house for consideration.

“What the FIRS is requesting is belated. They want to drag us back and it cannot work. If we want to work on the FIRS proposal, we would organise another public hearing and send the document to all the state houses of the Assembly for their input.

“The time is against us. We definitely cannot consider the FIRS proposal., the sources said

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