The Lagos State Government has said it will appeal an injunction of a Federal High Court, Ikoyi, which temporarily restrained it from enforcing the provisions of the 2017 Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant (Fiscalisation) Regulations 2017.
In view of this, the government has equally appointed the immediate past Solicitor General of the state, Mr. Lawal Pedro (SAN) to lead its legal team to challenge the order suspending the fiscalisation regulation until the suit is concluded.
Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court had last week suspended the fiscalisation regulation until the substantive suit filed by the Association of the Registered Trustees Hotel Owners and Managers Association of Lagos was determined.
The judge equally suspended the Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Law Cap H8, Laws of Lagos State 2015 while restraining the state government from enforcing or implementing it in some parts of the Lagos State.
A government source stated on Tuesday night that the order was contrary to a Supreme Court decision that validated the Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Law, 2009.
The source said the state government was aware of an ex-parte injunction granted by the Federal High Court, Lagos on March 21 in respect of the new regulations the state government issued pursuant to the Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Law.
The government source said the lower court delivered the injunction without taking congisance of the decision of the apex court that validated the legality of the Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Law in 2013.
The government said it was unfortunate that former Attorney-General of the state, Mr. Olasupo Shasore (SAN) could take up a legal battle against a legislation that the State House of Assembly validly enacted under his supervision.
According to the source, the ex-parte order was obtained by Shasore, a former Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice under whose supervision the Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Tax Law, 2009 was enacted.
“Shasore was the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice when the Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption bill was passed into Law by the Lagos State House of Assembly and its inclusion in the Laws of Lagos State was done while Shasore was the Chairman of the Law Reform Commission,” the source said.
After its passage, the Lagos State House of Assembly had also approved a regulation, Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption (fiscalisation) Regulations, 2017 “to ensure that all consumption Taxes charged by Hotel and Restaurant owners on citizens are duly captured and remitted to the State Government.
The source explained that the fiscalisation regulation was initiated essentially “to ensure transparency and accountability in the collection of consumption tax in Lagos State. The regulation does not in any way increase the burden of hotel owners.
“The state government will challenge the interim orders obtained by misrepresentation of fact and pursue the substantive suit until its dismissal. Since 2009 when the law was enacted, there had been compliance by hotel and restaurant owners.”
He noted that the hotel and restaurant owners kicked against the regulation as the state government resolved to ensure transparency and accountability in collection of consumption tax that led to the institution of the frivolous suit.