UNN, UNTH, FCEE, others to face sanctions over tax debts

Gov Ugwuanyi of Enugu State

By Patrick Egwu, Enugu

The Enugu State Board of Internal Revenue on Monday says it will initiate enforcement actions against some Federal Government institutions to claim the over N13 billion owed it by the institutions.

Speaking in an interview with Orient Daily in Enugu, the chairman of the board, Mr Emeka Odo said that the current economic challenges had made the move imperative.

Odo said that most state governments were relying on internally generated revenue to fund their activities, adding that the state was not an exception.

He regretted that some establishments which enjoyed patronage from the state government would blatantly refuse to remit to the host government taxes deducted from members of their staff.

He said that the University of Nigeria Nsukka and Federal College of Education, Ehamufu, which owed the state government over N197 million in taxes, were among the defaulters.

“The University of Nigeria, Nsukka is owing us over N10 billion, the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital too is owing us over N3 billion, National Orthopedic Hospital, Enugu is owing us over  a  N131 million .

“These are taxes that have been deducted but not remitted to the state government. And we are appealing to all the institutions to please hurry and remit these monies that have been deducted from their workers’ salaries as taxes.

“They should remit this money to state government so that government can meet its obligations to its citizens,” he said.

Odo said that the indebtedness had spanned over a five year period, adding that the state government would no longer condone such impunity.

“It worries us in the Board of Internal Revenue when otherwise reputable institutions start behaving like outlaws and we have been in dialogue with these institutions that they should begin to pay this backlog of unpaid taxes.

“The monies we are asking them to pay are not coming from their allocation. These are monies that have been deducted from staff over the last five years that are not remitted.

“That is why its very very worrisome that why would a responsible officer of an institution deduct taxes and fail to remit to the state government.

“It’s a crime under the Personal Income Tax Act. We give them up to the end of this month to make those remittances otherwise we start enforcement action against them,” he said.

He said that some commercial banks in the state were not also left out in the indebtedness.

“A lot of banks in the state owe us millions of naira on unpaid withholding tax on deposits by individuals and we appeal that these banks should pay up.

“Within the next one month we will start enforcement against the banks,” Odo said.

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