An Appeal Court sitting in Port Harcourt may in September, 2022 stay further proceedings in the appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service seeking to stop the Rivers State Government from further collecting Value Added Taxes and Personal Income Tax within the state.
The PUNCH reports that a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt had in September 2021 ruled that Rivers State and not the FIRS, should collect VAT within the state.
But the FIRS challenged the Federal High Court’s ruling by filing an appeal last year against the Rivers State Attorney General and others, urging the court to upturn the decision of the Federal High Court and allow the agency to continue administering VAT in Rivers State. On Monday when the appeal was heard for consideration of motions and applications, the lead counsel for the Attorney General of the Federation, Useni Zakariya (SAN), filed an application seeking the leave of the court to stay further proceedings of the appeal on the grounds that the same matter is before the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Before the court were counsel for the first respondent (the Attorney General of Rivers state), D. C. Den-Wigwe (SAN), counsel for the appellant (FIRS), M. Jimoh (SAN), counsel for the Attorney General of Lagos State, U. E. Olosile, and counsel for parties seeking to join the appeal, M. A. Essien (SAN), who all acknowledged their receipts of the stay of further proceedings application filed by Jimoh (SAN).
Reacting following the application for further stay of proceedings, the lead judge of the three-man appeal panel, Justice Joseph Ikyegh, adjourned hearing of the application to September 19, 2022.
The PUNCH reports that the Rivers State Government had approached the Supreme Court to challenge the ruling by the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal that parties, including FIRS and Rivers and Lagos states should maintain the status quo.
Justice Stephen Pam of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt had on August 10, 2021 restrained the FIRS from collecting VAT and Personal Income Tax in the state.