Ademola Babalola in Ibadan
In continuation of its aggressive tax drive, the Oyo State government yesterday shut down the business premises of Obasanjo Farms, located in Oluyole Industrial Estate, Ibadan, MRS oil in the Oyo State capital city.
The farm is one of the 16 other business organisations that were shut for defaulting in the payment of the environmental development levy due to the state government.
The companies are said to have defaulted in the payment for the year 2017 and or 2018.
The exercise by the combined task force teams of the Oyo State Inter-ministerial Enforcement Unit was being coordinated by the Oyo State Board of Internal Revenue.
Locations visited by the task force team included Dugbe, Eleyele, Podo, Challenge, Onireke areas of the capital city.
Some of the other firms affected in the seal up by the task force team include Black Horse, Heinemann Educational Books, Lister Flour Mills, and University Press Limited.
Others are Evans Brother, Brooking House, Group Medical hospital, Butterfield bakery, Chicken Republic, MRS oil and Rasmed publicity.
While addressing the press, the chairman, Oyo state Board of Internal Revenue (OYBIR), Mr. Bicci Alli said the exercise became inevitable due to the failure of the affected firms to comply with the state tax laws after series of formal communication failed.
Stressing that the enforcement will be continuous, he warned all corporate organisations in the state to do the needful and be corporately responsible in line with the laws of the land.
He said, “the exercise we carried out today (Tuesday) is not something new and not outside the law. It is within the law. We went to restrain some corporate organizations that failed to pay what is due to Oyo State government after giving due notices, demand notices and even public notices to that effect and they failed to pay.
“So we went to those places to distrain them from having access to their premises and it’s going to be a continuous exercise, all through the week and even next week.
“What they are guilty of is the payment of the environmental development levy. Some of them owe about two years. We wrote to them and gave them notices to pay, they refused to pay. It was as a result of their failure to pay that we now embarked on the needful.
“But it’s so sad that not until we have to take this step against the firms that they are now actually coming out to pay.
“Government is not interested in disrupting the business of these corporate organizations, the business of government is to create an enabling environment for business to thrive which Oyo state government has done tremendously well in the last few years and that’s why you see businesses springing up on daily basis in Oyo state. The government cannot disrupt their businesses unless where it is absolutely necessary.
“The focus now is that we will collect every kobo that people are owing the state government, we did publication on August 13, in two widely read newspapers, drawing the attention of corporate organizations and individual residents of Oyo state to pay all their taxes, dues and levies that are supposed to pay to the state government within 14 days.
“But that was like a reminder, prior to that: we served demand notices in line with extant laws on corporate organizations, individuals to pay their taxes. Some of the taxes are due early January, February, March, depending on the position of the law. However, when they failed to pay, we did the reminder in line with the position of the law and we now did a public notice on 14th August, giving them 14 days to be able to pay. So, nobody could tell us that they were not informed.”