Chairman of Edo Board of Internal Revenue, BIR, Chief Oseni Elamah, freed by the police, after being detained over an alleged closure of Benin airport, has disclosed that 33 federal government ministries, departments and agencies in the state are owing the state government the sum of N1.3b un-remitted Pay As You Earn(PAYE) tax for their workers for 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Chief Elamah who was detained Tuesday for allegedly sealing the Benin airport was however released late in the evening.
While briefing journalists in Benin on Wednesday, Elamah explained the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, alone was owing the Government N680 million PAYE workers’ taxes.
He further disclosed that the tax liabilities do not include other agencies whose records have not been obtained by the Board of Internal Revenue, adding that many of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies fail to comply with tax law requiring the filing of returns to enable BIR compute the taxes of their staff working in the state.
Narrating what transpired at the Benin Airport when staff of the BIR went to serve a distraining Court order on the administrative office of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria(FAAN), he said tax issues were based on law, explaining that it was in this light that the federal government has been deducting N825 million Value Added Tax (VAT) owed by previous government from the state monthly allocation.
According to him, the court order BIR staff went to enforce was granted as far back as May 2013 after several reminder notices were sent.
He also added that the airport Manager, Sunday Ayodele, created a dubious impression that he was not aware of the tax liabilities against FAAN, whereas there had been correspondences between BIR and FAAN on the issue.
Chief Elamah accused the airport Manager of orchestrating a scheme to blackmail the state Board of Internal Revenue by shutting down the airport, saying that the manager locked the gates and when he, (Elamah), forced the gates open, the manager allegedly switched off generators, electrical appliances and resorted to physical assault on staff of BIR.
“The Court order would not in any way have affected airport operations but in an attempt to blackmail, the manager sealed-off the airport,” he said.
The BIR Chairman who commended the Department of State Services for regular remittances of its staff PAYE to the Edo State Government, announced that the Board has 20 Court orders pending against various agencies of the federal government.
He however assured that the Board would not do anything outside the law.
Source: PM News
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