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Falana Tells Buhari What To Do Before VAT Increase

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Constitutional lawyer Femi Falana has condemned move by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari implement the increase in Value Added Tax (VAT).

GCFRNG recalls that the Federal Executive Council had last Wednesday approved the increment of VAT from 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, had told the National Assembly that the increase would only begin after the VAT Act was amended by the National Assembly.

She also stated that the federal government would engage in consultations with the state and local government areas as well as the Nigerians.

According to her, our projection is to finish consultations early enough so that it takes effect in 2020.

However, speaking to NAN, Femi Falana said NASS erred by inviting the Minister of Finance and the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to clarify issues of VAT increment.

According to him, Buhari has to propose a Money Bill to the National Assembly before any VAT increase.

Femi Falana said: “It’s illegal, under a democratic dispensation you cannot impose tax or increase tax without a law made by the National Assembly or the State Assembly as the case may be.

“In this case, it has to be realised that we are not under a military dictatorship.

“By virtue of section 59 of the Nigerian Constitution, any increase, levy or tax will have to be presented to the National Assembly by way of money Bill by the President, it has to be passed into law.

“The Senate erred in law by inviting them to come and clarify, the National Assembly has invited the Minister of Finance and the Federal Inland Revenue Services to come and clarify.

“No, the National Assembly must insist on its powers under Section 59 to pass a law to increase VAT or any tax, there can be no taxation without legislation.

“The Federal Executive Council has no power under the Constitution to increase VAT or any tax in the country.”

 

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