A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday, fixed April 15, to deliver judgement in a suit by Registered Trustees of Hotel Owners and Managers Association in Lagos, challenging the new Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Laws of Lagos State.
Justice Mohammed Aikawa fixed the date for judgement, after counsel representing parties had adopted their various processes before the court.
The suit, marked FHC/L/CS/360/2018, has the Attorney General of Lagos State and the Federal Inland Revenue Service as first and second defendants respectively.
In its suit, the plaintiff is urging the court to strike out the Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Law Cap H8, Laws of Lagos State 2015.
They are urging the court to restrain the State from enforcing or implementing paragraphs 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 11 of the Lagos State Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant (Fiscalisation) Regulations 2017.
The Law introduces an increase in consumption tax, in addition to a Value Added Tax on every purchase or services rendered by Hotels, Restaurants, fast food outlets, bars and night clubs.
On March 21, 2018, Justice Aikawa had issued an interim order, restraining the defendant from enforcing the provisions of its new Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption (Fiscalisation) Regulations 2017, pending the determination of the suit.
When the case was called on Wednesday, Mr Lawal Pedro (SAN) announced appearance for the defendants, while Mr B. Salihu appeared for the plaintiff.
Salihu then sought to withdraw an earlier motion filed before the court, and the court granted and struck out same.
Plaintiff counsel afterwards, proceeded to adopt his originating processes before the court, urging it to grant the prayers sought.
In the same vein, defence counsel, also adopted his counter affidavit before the court in opposition to the originating summons dated March 7, 2018, as well as a counter claim to the suit.
He urged the court to grant the applications as prayed.
After adopting their respective processes, Justice Aikawa, fixed April 15, for judgment.
In its suit, the plaintiff is asking the court to restrain the defendants, its agents from visiting members of the plaintiffs “between March 1 and March 10, 2018, or any other period before or thereafter,” pending the determination of the motion on notice.
The plaintiffs contends that in 2009, the Lagos House of Assembly enacted the Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Law, which seeks to impose tax on goods consumed in hotels, restaurants, event centres, or night clubs within Lagos.
They argue that by section 9 of the Law, the first defendant through the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) is empowered to make regulations for the collection and remittance of taxes, and for proper administration of the Law.
According to the plaintiff, in exercise of its powers, Chairman of the LIRS made the Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption (Fiscalisation) Regulation 2017.
They argue that the Regulation is made to set out measures which allows the first defendant through the LIRS, to commence enforcement of the Law, on members of the plaintiff.
The plaintiffs are therefore, urging the court to grant their reliefs sought.
Meanwhile, in its counter claim, the defendant is seeking a declaration, that the plaintiff is obliged to comply with the provisions of the law, as well as its regulations, pursuant to goods and services consumed in hotels and event centres in the Lagos state.
Defence argues that by the provisions of section 4(7) of the constitution, provision of the Taxes and Levies Act, and the provision of the Hotel and Occupancy Laws of Lagos State the defendant is the only lawful body empowered to impose and collect tax from customers of the plaintiff.
According to the defendant, the constitution of Nigeria vests legislative and taxing power on both the Federal Government for the Federation, and on the State Government for the State.
The defendant, further argues that the Lagos State Government represented by the first defendant, is vested with legislative power and taxing authority by express provisions of the Constitution.
Defence, therefore, argues that pursuant to the Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Law 2009, it is the lawful collector and will continue to collect tax from customers, on goods and services, consumed in Hotels, Restaurant and event centres in Lagos.