By SIMON EBEGBULEM
BENIN CITY-THERE are indications that President Goodluck Jonathan may have ordered all Federal Government agencies in Edo state to pay the over N2.5billion owned to the state government from Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax so as to avoid such crisis that led to the closure of the Benin Airport last week.
Vanguard was reliably informed that the President gave the charge shortly after he met with Governor Adams Oshiomhole, who met with the President last week Tuesday to explain the reasons for the closure of the administrative building of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), at the Benin Airport last week Monday.
It was learnt that the President who was embarrassed with the fracas that occurred that fateful day, agreed that meeting tax obligations was none negotiable and directed all Federal agencies to meet up their tax obligations in the state.
After the FAAN management tendered their apologies to Governor Oshiomhole last Wednesday, the management of FAAN Vanguard learnt, are making frantic efforts to pay the sum of N15million owed to the Edo state Government from the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax.
The chairman of the Edo State Board of Internal Revenue, Chief Useni Elamah had last week expressed frustrations in collecting taxes from Federal agencies in the state despite the fact that the state government are meeting up with its tax obligation to the Federal Government and disclosed that Federal agencies are owing the state government over N2billion.
According to him, “now we have over 33 court orders on these Federal agencies because they have failed to remit what is due to the state government to us. They are owing us over N2.5billion and the records are there.
Today, the Edo state government is paying on monthly basis tax deductions as a result of withholding tax for which the Federal Inland Revenue Service alleged were not remitted by Edo state and it was done not even in this administration, it was done during the Lucky Igbinedion administration.
“And they are deducting at source after the Federal allocation has been given. On a monthly basis the Federal Government deduct over N800million from our allocation as a result of all kinds of deductions.
They are making this deduction not even on a mere court order, but just for the mere fact that the Federal Government is incharge of the allocation, so if we are taking this why can’t federal agencies here respect themselves” he stated.