Sterling Bank's Enugu Branches Re-open for Business

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The branches of Sterling Bank in Enugu yesterday reopened for business after reconciliation with the state’s government’s Board of Internal Revenue Service (BIR).

The BIR had reportedly closed eight banks including Sterling Bank branches in Enugu on Monday for alleged failure to pay withholding tax to the Board.

But in a statement signed by the Chief Marketing Officer, Sterling Bank, Henry Bassey, the lender said: “The reported closure came to us at Sterling Bank as a shock considering the robust relationship that exists between the bank and the board just as we had conducted ourselves as a responsible corporate financial institution through prompt payment of all our taxes, fees, levies and all other payments not only due to BIR but to all government institutions both at the states and national level.

“We would like to confirm that the board approached the bank with a request to pay outstanding withholding tax to it which we agreed to settle but after due reconciliation of the books. We had scheduled a meeting with the officials of the board this Monday only to hear of the closure of our branches on Sunday night.

While the bank said it was not joining issues with the board over the closure, it said the government agency “should have waited for the conclusion of the process of reconciliation before engaging in the closure of the branches without due consideration of the effect of such closure not only to the Bank but on our numerous customers who have been denied access to their funds for business opportunity and personal use.”