• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Igbo traders demand harmonised tax as Kwara govt seals up business premises

Igbo traders demand harmonised tax as Kwara govt seals up business premises

Boniface Okeke, president-general of Igbo Community in Kwara State has called on the State Revenue Service to review its tax demand considering the economic downturn in the country.

Okeke, who said this in a telephone interview with BusinessDay against the backdrop of the rift between Igbo traders and Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS), equally requested the Agency to give them enough time to sensitise their members on the new mode of collecting tax.

He explained that there was misunderstanding between the duo in the last three weeks where some igbo shops were locked by the Mobile Court of the Revenue Agency which affected the business activities in Ilorin, the State capital.

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Although, the shops have been open, the Igbo president however called for dialogue and mutual understanding with Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS).

“The Igbos in Kwara did not have any issue with the current Administration led by Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, we have a wonderful relationships with him even at the last election.

“For the emphasis, no Igbo man says he will not pay tax because even in the Bible, tax is there, what we are saying is that we want to be paying our taxes through mutual understanding where the payers will be happy and receiver will be happy too.

“The previous leadership of the Revenue Agency have good understanding with Igbo traders as they arranged some Igbos to collect money from their people and be remitting it to them. It has been like that for a long time.

“The award we received last three years as best Traders Association in Kwara shows we always comply and law-abiding citizens by paying our taxes as and when due.

“The new leadership are now saying that they prefer going to our people directly and be collecting tax. We say no problem but they should give us enough time and allow us to sensitise our people because we usually collect tax in groups, but now will be paid individually. Our people know nothing about tax negotiation.

“We don’t know how they calculated it, they checked and came up with seven years tax debt. Chupet (one of the traders) has full tax payment receipts given to him by KWIRS up to 2023, same thing applied to Top Biz, (another trader), he has it receipts up to 2023.

“They charged Chupet N9.3 million while Top Biz was to pay N9 million, how come? I don’t know modalities used. They only told us that they checked and discovered seven years back debt. Our people see that as a draconian act.

“KWIRS told us that Court gave them order to seal those premises, and that was why we approached Court to vacate that Court order. That order was given in bad fate, so, we want to have a room to dialogue, because that order was obtained under exparte motion, where you cannot hear from other party.

“We are talking about tax; we have to enlighten our people about the new development. There should be human face, there should be checks and balances through negotiation as far as we are concerned, we want that demand to be reviewed.

“Even if they have right to change the payment of anybody from seven years back, the situation in Nigeria calls for rethink and consideration before taking any step.”

Okeke, however, appreciated Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq for his intervention and KWIRS as the shops were open.

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“I don’t know modalities used to have open the shops, I want to thank Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq for the intervention, it may be KWIRS; we thank them immensely because such gesture will bring the tension between us and KWIRS down and that will give enough concentration to dialogue, discussion and conclusion on the matter,” he emphasised.

Meanwhile, KWIRS in its response on behalf of Shade Omoniyi, the Chairman of the Agency through KWIRS Corporate Affairs Unit, stated
that, “as part of efforts to ensure tax compliance by residents and business owners in State, the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS), conducted a Mobile Court within some business premises in Ilorin to prosecute three recalcitrant highnet worth business owners who hide under Association to pay lesser taxes than what is due.

“Having exhausted all necessary measures to ensure that taxpayers remit the appropriate taxes due to the State Government without any positive results, KWIRS resorted to enforcement on the recalcitrant taxpayers as provided under the relevant state law.”