By G9ija

The Ondo State Government, through the state Internal Revenue Service (ODIRS), has stated that it would implement any law relating to Value Added Tax (VAT) collection in the state.

The Executive Chairman of ODIRS, Mr Tolu Adegbie, disclosed this during a press conference yesterday in Akure, the state capital.

He noted that the agency had carried out its research and passed its observation to the state government for consideration.

According to him, “We will implement the law that has been passed by the state, and we have done our research and we have passed out observation, so at the appropriate time, the government will make a decision.

“But if the case is won in favour of the state, what happens? It means that we will be responsible for the collection of VAT.”

He noted that the state has a Consumption Tax, which he said was passed in 2019, but was suspended in 2020 because of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic adding that the consumption tax is different from VAT.

Adegbie said: “The implementation of consumption law has started now. We have written to hotels in the state but some are still confused saying the tax is the same as VAT.

“They are not the same. While they may both be Consumption Tax, one is based on sales while the other is on the transaction value. This is only for hotels and restaurants.

“So those hotels writing to us that VAT case is in court should know that this one is not in court. It’s not subjected to litigation.”

In another development, the ODIRS chairman noted that over 80 per cent of intra-state commercial drivers, who came to register their vehicles in the agency did not have valid driver’s licences.

Adegbie stated that this was discovered during the compulsory registration ordered by the state government to address insecurity and criminalities in the state.

He said about 800 vehicles had been registered so far, adding that 80 per cent of the drivers did not have valid driver’s licences.

Adegbie noted that such a situation could no longer be tolerated in the state, saying the state governor had been informed of the situation.

In his remarks, the Senior Special Assistant to the state Governor on Special Duties and Strategies, Dr Doyin Odebowale, said the government would

immediately commence the enforcement by impounding commerce vehicles that had not been registered as stipulated, as well as those without valid driver’s licence.

“The enforcement is immediate. We have given four months for commercial vehicle drivers to register their vehicles and we can’t extend it,” he stated.

In his remark, the Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Transport, Mr Kayode Ogundele, enjoined the citizenry to comply with the directive for their safety and well-being.

“The present government is a government of law and order, and this is reflected in its actions.

“Everything that will ensure that our citizens are secure and safe must not be overlooked.

“So we are ready to follow the process of enforcement without fear and favour. It is not expected of anyone who is not licenced to be on the road.

“Anyone caught should face the music. And I want to plead to our citizens that whatever the government is doing is in our own interest. We, therefore, expect your full cooperation,” he stated.