Members of the Lagos state House of Assembly on Thursday passed the Value Added Tax (VAT) bill and the Anti-Open Grazing bill after unanimous votes during plenary session.
The Speaker of the House, Rt (Hon) Mudashiru Obasa, however, directed the Acting Clerk of the House, Barr. Olalekan Onafeko to transmit a clean copy to the governor for his assent.
After plenary, briefing journalists more on the bills, the Chairman House Committee on Finance, Hon. Rotimi Olowo, said since Nigeria is a federal state and Lagos is a component unit of the federation, the state should be allowed to collect the VAT within its jurisdiction for the benefit of its people.
Olowo added that the goods from which VAT was collected were goods produced and consumed in Lagos, adding that collection of VAT is residual and should be collected by the state.
The lawmaker reiterated that the state contributed 55% of the VAT collected by federal government, adding that about N600bn suppose to be accrued to Lagos annually.
He added that what was given to Lagos from the VAT is less than N40bn despite its huge contribution.
” We have LIRS that is doing the same job as FIRS and even FIRS is not collecting it free of charge. Constitutionally, it is the responsibility of State to be collecting VAT and so we have to catch in on that. So, that is why we come up with a law that will empower LIRS as a state agency saddled with the responsibility of collecting taxes. VAT is a tax imposed on consumption of goods and services. It is within the purview of the state to enact a law for the collection and remittance of same to state government “, he concluded.
Also, the Chairman House Committee on Agriculture and Cooperative, Hon. Kehinde Joseph, said that the anti-open grazing bill was a sensitive one but equally it was a bill for the peaceful co-existence of the people in the state.
Joseph said the bill when assented by the governor would protect the citizens, farmers and herders operating in the state, adding that it would also enhance the economy of the state.
He stated that henceforth anybody engaging in open-grazing would be appended to face the full wrath of the law, calling on everyone to support the bill for peaceful coexistence.
Recalled that the House held separate public hearings on the bills on Wednesday where stakeholders’ views were heard and collated.