Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Ajuri Ngelale, on Monday, knocked Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, for being allegedly tribalistic and aggressive in his pursuit for the collection of Value Added Taxes by the South-South state.
Ngelale noted that the Federal Government has not been taking the money made in the oil-rich Niger Delta to Northern Nigeria.
He also said that the Federal Government makes contributions to VAT generated in the country, noting that the 36 states do not generate VAT all by themselves.
The President’s aide stated this when he appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ breakfast programme.
VAT is a consumption tax paid when goods are purchased and services are rendered. It is charged at a rate of 7.5 per cent.
Ngelale, who said that he is from Rivers State, flayed Wike over his alleged ethnic posture, saying that VAT collection by the Federal Inland Revenue Service is about “harmonized tax policy” to make businesses easy for Nigerians.
He warned that VAT collection by states would lead to double taxation which could make survival difficult for business owners in the country.
Ngelale said, “I do disagree on the notion that states are by themselves generating VAT en masse and the Federal Government is trying to hijack (it).
“In 2020, the nation generated about N1.5trn in VAT. We have about 60 per cent of VAT coming from imports at the ports. As we know, ports infrastructure in the country is not controlled by the state governments, so they cannot say that it is their revenue; it is controlled by the Federal Government, it is federal revenue.
“Aside from the fact that we have a book coming from imports, we also have that second to Lagos is Abuja with about N202bn collected and the reason why is because Abuja is the site of federal ministries, departments and agencies and a huge bulk of that collection in the country was coming from VAT collected on contracts.
“So, when we create the impression that states collect these VATs and the Federal Government is hijacking it and trying to share it when in fact, it only (belongs to) Lagos or Rivers, I think it is a gross over-simplification.”