Hammed Shittu in Kwara
Residents of Kwara state and the management of the state owned internal revenue service (KWRIS) may soon clash over the purported plan by the latter to enforce some tax policies in the state.
Already, the management of the internal revenue service has threatened to jail anyone that was found guilty of defaulting in payment of taxes to the government as from November this year.
The Executive Chairman of Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KWRIS) Dr. Muritala Awodu disclosed this to journalists in Ilorin at a media briefing.
He said that the decision became necessary in order “to encourage those who have been paying to continue and others who have refused to pay to to realise that those who have been paying are not fools.”
He added that the decision among others was to enable the state government meet its target of N3billion per month and even beyond to enable the state meet its financial obligations to the stakeholders without depending on federal monthly allocations.
According to him,’’Kwara State Internal Revenue Service has inaugurated a team to comb the 16 local government areas of the state for enforcement of tax payment, with warnings that defaulters risk various categories of penalties including imprisonment.’’
‘’For the growth and provision of social services, security, good health system, the service is calling on all tax payers to fulfill their obligations to the state, Play your part, Pay your tax.
‘’Beginning from 1st November, 2016, the Enforcement, Legal and Monitoring directorates will embark on serious enforcement activities across the state. The KWIRS has put all necessary machineries in lace to enforce our tax policies and warned that failure to comply with the tax regulations risk prosecution’’
‘’I therefore enjoined all eligible tax payers in the state to check the status of their tax liabilities, ensure they comply with the true elements of the law, and seek assistance via the newly implemented Tax Payers Advocacy unit in Enforcement , Legal & Monitoring Directorate of KWIRS for assistance where needed.’’
Awodun who lamented the current inability of the local governments in the state to pay their staff salaries, noted that the situation is redeemable if the state government could introduce a tax reform policy in the state that would explore all the potential of individual local government, which he noted would on its own yield 60% resources to meet their obligations aside their IGR and monthly allocations from the federation account.
‘’By then there would be peace and developments across the state, because conveniently they would be paying their staff salaries and also meet other developmental needs of the individual local governments”, he added.
He also described as blatant lies, the claim by the state chapter of Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) that the amount collected from each of the local government by KWIRS was not always released to them.
‘’At each end of the month, there is FAAC meeting where all the stakeholders including the council chairmen, union leaders, commissioner for finance and other top government officials are always present. There they discuss the federal monthly allocations and the amount we collected for each local government. After the brief, the
second day each of the council will receive their alert. For instance we collected N164.8M between March and September for the local government’’ he explained.