By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”GOVERNOR Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has threatened to seal off Federal Government establishments in the state over their alleged failure to remit various taxes due to the state government.
Vanguard learnt that the affected establishments, which included the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Nigeria Prisons Service, the NNPC, Psychiatric Hospital Uselu, Zonal office of the National Agency for Food, Drugs and Administration Control (NAFDAC), were given up till the end of this month to pay their taxes or face the consequences.
Other establishments involved in the alleged tax evasion are the National Business and Technical Education Board (NABTEB), the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH); Code of Conduct Bureau, the Nigeria Institute of Oil Palm Research, the Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria, National Examination Council,the Immigration Service and the Nigerian Postal Service.
Others are the Irrua Specialist Hospital, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Corporation, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, Integrated Data services, the National Museum and WAEC.
The state government declared that the issue of negotiating statutory obligation to the state was uncalled for and urged the establishments to pay up.
Deputy governor of the state, Dr Pius Odubu, who represented Governor Oshiomhole in a meeting with chief executive officers of the affected establishments at Government House, Benin City, said there were evidence that taxes were collected from staff of the listed establishments, but were yet to be remitted to the state government.
He complained that the authorities of the University of Benin had prevented the state government from looking into their records in spite of all the efforts made by the government to do so.
â€œSo, we are giving every body till month end to pay their taxes. This is a statutory responsibility and I wonder why companies will not want to pay taxes due to the state of their operation.Â It is unfair.
â€œGovernment may, therefore, not hesitate to shut down any company that refused to pay its taxes by the end of the month,â€ he said.