By Emeka Mamah
Kaduna – THE Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) yesterday reopened the factory of Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN) with a warning that it would clamp down on more companies that default in the payment of tax to government.
The FIRS had, last Thursday, shut down the Kaduna headquarters factory of PAN, Nigeriaâ€™s only surviving automobile industry, over non-payment of about N1.29 billion in tax. But the company disputed the figure, saying that it is owing the government about N685 million while the government is indebted to it to the tune of over N6 billion.
Speaking with newsmen while reopening the factory, FIRSâ€™ head of enforcement and investigations, CSP Adamu Abdullahi Yanliman, said the company was being reopened after the management paid part of the debt they are owing. According to him, â€œthey have paid very substantial amount and also they have told us why they have not been able to pay all and the management of the Federal Inland Revenue was convinced that yes, the reason given to us are very, very reasonable. So they have paid very substantial amount of money and, as such, we have been directed by the management to come and unseal the companyâ€.
Yanliman said the amount paid by PAN remained undisclosed because they were trying to put everything in order before theyÂ release it, adding: â€œWe have already negotiated with them, we have been negotiating, exchanging letters, so they were recalcitrant and we decided to come and follow the law.
Then when they saw us here, they now became serious, so they came and met us yesterday in Abuja and actually what they told us, weÂ were all convinced and what they gave us is, at least, something reasonable that would now make us to come and unseal.â€
On the disparity in the figures claimed by FIRS and PAN, he explained that the FIRS added penalty, interest and fine in their computation which brought the difference, while PAN did not add anything to the actual tax.
He, however, said that the exercise was not new as FIRS had gone to Conoil and Continental Oil, recently, warning that they were going to seal off any company nationwide that failed to pay tax. Also speaking, deputy managing director of PAN, Shehu Sani Dauda, attributed the closure of the company to breakdown in communication, adding that reconciliation was being made and the company would remain open.