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States destroying alcoholic drinks can’t continue to enjoy VAT receipts – Gov. Wike

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State believes that states that have a penchant for destroying alcoholic beverages can no longer enjoy the dividends of Rivers state Value Added Tax (VAT).

Speaking during a statewide broadcast after the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) failure to secure a stay-of-execution to stop Rivers from collecting VAT from businesses in the state, Governor Wike hinted his victory would affect states’ with low revenue.

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Rivers State had the second-highest Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in 2020, according to a report obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Governor Wike threw a subtle jab at northern states whose insistence to be governed by Sharia law has witnessed the loss of millions from the destruction of alcoholic beverages, while these states partake in VAT from alcohol consumption from other states.

He said he was aware that the Rivers state government decision to collect VAT would lead to setbacks for some of these Sharia-compliant states.

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“Naturally, states with ethically restrictive social policies with economic implications may be adversely affected for now,” he said.

Over the years, the Hisbah police (enforcers of Sharia law) has continued to destroy millions of bottles and cans of alcoholic drinks considered a sin in Islam.

In an interview, a Kano-based distributor of alcoholic drinks, John Simon, lamented how he lost over N35 million to the Hisbah police after they destroyed thousands of his alcoholic drinks in November last year.