Governor Nyesom Wike has threatened to take over offices of the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS offices in Rivers state over VAT collection.
Wike who addressed Shell Petroleum Development Company and other representatives of oil companies and business owners in the state during a stakeholders’ meeting in Port Harcourt, insisted that money generated in Rivers state is not meant for “Abuja people” but for the development of his state.
The Governor said;
“People say that let heaven not fall but sometimes I believe that heaven should come down so that everybody will rest…When we do the right thing, heaven is at peace. So, the right thing must be done at all times.
“Rivers State is challenging FIRS from collecting VAT in Rivers State. I am not challenging FIRS from collecting VAT in Abuja. Let it be understood. But the law says Rivers must collect VAT in the state.”
“The Federal Government surreptitiously lobbied to amend the constitution to place VAT collection under the exclusive legislative list
“We have challenged it and we have no apologies to anybody.
“I don’t want to be in the good book of anybody but in the good book of God.
“You don’t bully a state like us. FIRS should be very careful. I have the political will to do a lot of things. If they continue to bully us, I will take all their offices in the state.”
Wike who disclosed that Rivers State government will start collecting VAT from September, warned oil companies and business owners not to remit their VAT to FIRS but the Rivers State Government.
“I don’t want you to fall prey of the people who think they can use force to take our money.
“If you want to take advantage and say you don’t know who to pay to, it is a lie, you know.
“From this September, we will start collecting our VAT.
“We will not look back but seal up the premises of such companies.”
The Governor also revealed that the state does not need the Nigeria Police Force to enforce the collection of VAT, but would use the state-created security outfit backed by the law.