By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, on Sunday said President Buhari will abide by whatever final verdict the judiciary passes on the ongoing Value Added Tax (VAT) legal tussle.
Adesina, who spoke on a live current affairs programme on Arise Television, This Day Live, however, predicted that the matter has the likelihood of ending up at the Supreme Court.
He assured that President Muhammadu Buhari would allow the legal matter run its full course as he is not in the habit of muzzling institutions.
Adesina, who was reacting to a question on the matter, which had generated some heat in the last few days, also took a swipe at critics who would rather pick holes in the announced audited report and profit after tax of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), instead of appreciating a positive happening for the first time.
Giving his personal opinion on the tussle on VAT, the presidential spokesman noted that the tug could be seen in the light of fulfilling some of the several citizens’ demands of all times, which is fiscal federalism.
He however noted that achieving fiscal federalism bust must be done within the ambits of the law.
“I think the VAT issue is good because there have been talks about restructuring and fiscal federalism in the country. If states eventually get their demands in respect of VAT, there will be something like fulfilling fiscal federalism. But then, fiscal federalism itself must be done within the ambits of the law.
“That is why this issue may, and will likely, end up in the Supreme Court and when the Supreme Court pronounces, that is what the law says. If it’s in favour of the states, fine. If it’s in favour of the federal government, fine. You know that even all these states are not unanimous. You have heard some governors speaking out against the position of certain states who are so militant on this VAT issue.
“So eventually, we will have a legal pronouncement, which may come from the highest court in the land and whatever that court says, then is the law in the country. Knowing the Buhari administration, it will obey the rule of law,” he said.