Unremitted Taxes: FIRS Demands over N3bn from Cross River

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Bassey Inyang in Calabar

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has commenced moves to recover over N3billion from taxes and other deductions made by the Cross River State Government from contractors and other sources, but were not remitted to the federal government as statutorily provided.

The move came to the fore during a recent visit of a delegation of the service to the state to discuss the way forward on how to get the money remitted to the service.

Led by the coordinator of the FIRS for Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Cross River State, Mr. Innocent Ohagwua, the officials of the FIRS met with the state deputy governor, Professor Ivara Esu , in his office, where they spoke on their mission to recover the unremitted funds for the federal government.

According to extracts of recordings of the meeting held last week, which was availed some newspapers, the FIRS coordinator said: “We are here sir, to raise some of the outstanding issues, and some of those outstanding issues. Without wasting your time, if we need to quantify it in terms of outstanding, they are in excess of N3 billion.”

Ohagwua said though the FIRS would prefer the arrears of outstanding deductions, especially taxes deducted from contractors and others, to be remitted service in bulk sum, they were prepared to provide a window of opportunity to the state to make such remittances in instalments.”

Responding to the demands of the FIRS, the state deputy governor said the state government will continue to work with the service to ensure that its objective of generating revenue for the federal government was realised.
The FIRS coordinator said revenues generated and remitted to the FIRS by state were for the execution of projects for the benefit of the people at the federal, state and local government levels.
Esu demanded that issues raised by the FIRS be documented and forwarded to the state government for necessary action.

“I want to also let you know that we are a responsible government, we know that it is important for one to pay his or her taxes; very important and I can assure you that, if you properly document ll this things that you have told me that we that we have not done, especially the issue of deducting taxes from contractors and not remitting them…
“My advice is that you should properly document these matters, make them very clear, let them not be ambiguous, they should be as clear as possible, and then give that to us,” Esu Said.