VAT: Rivers Take Battle To Supreme Court

Executive order 10
A file photo of Nigeria Supreme Court

The Value Added Tax dispute has taken another twist as the Rivers State Government has approached the Supreme Court, challenging the order by the Court of Appeal that parties should maintain the status quo.

VANTAGE NEWS had reported that the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, on August 9 declared that the Rivers State Government and not FIRS should collect VAT and Personal Income Tax in the state.

The ruling was faulted by the Court of Appeal on Friday, saying that parties should refrain from giving effect to the judgment of the trial court in Port Harcourt pending the hearing and determination of the application of the FIRS to stay execution of the trial court’s judgment.

The Rivers State government in the notice of appeal argued that “Justices of the Court of Appeal erred in law when they relied on the provisions of Section 6(6) of the Constitution and the inherent jurisdiction of the court to found their decision to make an order to maintain status quo which they identified as restoring the parties to the position they were before the judgment of the Federal High Court in FHC/PH/CS/149/2020 was delivered on 9th August 2021.”

It further argues that “the learned Justices of the Court of Appeal erred in law when they wrongly assumed jurisdiction to entertain the oral application for the maintenance of status quo made by the counsel for the Federal Inland Revenue Service (the 1st Respondent herein) in spite of the fact that a condition precedent to the invocation of the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal was not fulfilled by the first respondent.”

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