THE Kogi State Internal Revenue Service on Wednesday sealed the facilities of mobile telecommunications service providers, MTN and Airtel, Forte oil and Bank of Agriculture (BOA) in the state over tax default of over N470 million.
The office premises and base stations of the telecommunication outfits, the oil company and the bank were sealed following a court order to distrain the premises.
The director, legal services and enforcement of the revenue service, Jamil Isah, who led his team to seal the facilities of the two telecommunication service providers at mount Patti, Obajana and other places in Lokoja, disclosed that Airtel owed the state over N321 million and while MTN over N140 million.
Isah added that Forte oil tax debit was N5m, while the BOA was indebted to the tune of N4m, saying the development necessitated the closure of their operational offices.
He said, “For quite some time, we have diligently approached the two telecom service providers the MTN and Airtel to pay some of their tax liabilities to the state government and they refused to cooperate with us.
“We then proceeded to the state High Court of Justice, the court having looked into the case granted us an order authorising us to seal their facilities until those obligations are discharged by the affected organisations and that was what we have done to ensure that they pay the tax”
According to him, Airtel had refused to pay its annual rent for the laying of fibre cable on the soil of Kogi state, wondering why the organisation which pay its would be taking the state for granted.
He, however, pledged that the revenue service would continue to take decisive action in order to compel the defaulters to pay their taxes.
“Pursuant to the directive of Kogi state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, to have a listening ears to the complaints and challenges of the taxpayers in the state, we met with them from time to time and make amend where we can.
“Sometimes we staggered their tax payments, we do some wavers and we reduced the taxpayers’ liabilities in view of the challenges they presented before us. All of these to enable them pay the tax as at when due” he noted.
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