Oyo state government on Thursday sealed up a shopping complex at No 32, Oba Adebimpe Road, Lebanon Street, Ibadan, for allegedly failing to pay land use charge.
No fewer than 23 corporate organisations were sealed off in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital by the State Government for defaulting in the payment of different types of taxes.
The exercise which has lasted for two days saw officials of the Interministerial Joint Task Force Team distraining the affected business premises after efforts to ensure tax compliance failed.
While about 11 firms were shut for failing to remit the Pay As You Earn tax deducted on their staff to the government, 13 others were distrained for failing to pay the Land Use Charges.
Some of the business sanction for PAYE non-remittance include; Agril Nigeria Limited, Bevpak, Fleetwood Garages Limited and Merck Pharmaceuticals.
Others are, Vintage Rock Nigeria Limited, Virgo Services Nigeria Limited, Wakanow.com limited, Heineman Edu Books, Mansard Insurance among others.
Those that were sealed for defaulting in the payment of their Land Use Charge include; Pentorise Nigeria Limited, UCH Event Centre, Oodua Investment Company Limited, NUT Teachers House and Foodco.
Some of the others are, Inaolaji Shopping Complex, Nustreams Conference Centre, Labod Civic Centre, Carlton Gate Hotel, Molly Specialist Clinics, Chartered Institute of Bankers and Wemabod Oodua.
The seal of which saw two different team swoop on the various business premises caused a lot of business hitches for the various business interest.
Chairman, Oyo State Board of Internal Revenue, (OYBIR), Mr. Bicci Alli whose office is coordinating the effort explained that the organisations defaulted in the remittances from as early as 2003.
He said governments concern is to ensure that all taxes, dues and revenues acrruable to the coffers of the state government are duly paid.
According to sources, while about N150 million was not remitted by those defaulting with the PAYE, over N35million is being owned by those guilty of not paying the Land Use Charge.
Speaking on the default of governmental agencies in remitting monies deducted on their workers and not paid accordingly to the appropriate government coffers, Alli said, “We are just sending the right signal out that we follow due process, we follow the law and we will not do anything that is illegal in the course of collecting what is due to the state government.
“And we will also make sure that irrespective of the person or organization involved, either from the federal state or local government, whatever is due from such organisations, entities, department and or agencies must be paid and we are using this to also remind other FG owned ministries, departments and agencies that are still owing to please do the needful.
“It maybe in terms of the Personal Income Tax deducted from the staff salaries and withheld, land use charge that is due, signage, environmental development levy that is due, registration and renewal of business names and premises due for everybody and others.”
Alli who lamented that the default level and non-payment of Land use Charge in the state is as high of 90 percent with the private property owners most culpable, reminded the members of the public that a pre-condition attached to the Certificate of Occupancy (CoO) given property owners is the consent to comply and pay all outstanding levies, dues and charges on such property.
“I want to remind the members of the public that the Certificate of Occupancy (CoO) given to property owners by the government has some conditions attached to it. And one of the conditions of the CoO is that the property owner has agreed to abide by the rules and regulations of the land and pay all the levies and dues to the government as appropriate.
“Well, I don’t want to say that the last option would be for the government to revoke CoO that are default but if you don’t pay your land use charge and other taxes on your property, that means you have failed to fulfil one of the conditions attached to the Certificate of Occupancy.
“This effort is a continuous exercise because the default rate is very high. Its as high as almost 90 percent. Only few corporate organisations pay. Individual are worst for it. But we will make sure that whosoever and whatsoever needed to be paid to the government are paid.”