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"we didn't seal Obasanjo farms for political reasons" -Oyo Govt

Ridwan Kolawole, Ibadan

The Oyo State government has denied that it sealed up Obasanjo farms and over 40 other business firms in the state for political reasons.

Contrary, the government said, the seal off of the business premises was as due to the failure of the affected firms and business interests to comply with tax laws of the state after every known effort to compel the defaulting companies to comply failed.

The Chairman, Oyo State Board of Internal Revenue (OYBIR), Mr Bicci Alli made the disclosure during the OYBIR sensitization and enlightenment meeting with the members of the Organised Private Sectors (OPS) and Chambers of Commerce under the aegis of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Oyo State Chapter, at MAN House, Jericho Road, Ibadan.

At the meeting which was attended by representatives of manufacturing companies and business organisations operating in the state, the OPS expressed willingness to collaborate with the government to ensure tax compliance in the interest of both the companies and the government.

Alli, whose office coordinated the Inter-ministerial joint tax force team that is enforcing tax compliance, said the government is never political in its enforcement exercise but more concerned about instituting a culture of voluntary tax compliance among all individuals and corporate residents in the state.

Enforcement actions of the government on the erring organisations and individuals in complying with the state laws have been tagged political phenomena in the receng past as it was in the part demolition of Yinka Ayefele Music House.

While vowing that the exercise would be continuous, Alli stressed that the Board will not relent in its effort until all monies due to the government are paid promptly.
He assured business owners that the government is not interested in disrupting business but doing the needful to ensure a conducive environment for business prosperity, adding that only a mutually beneficial relationship between the government and the business sector can help both parties.

Alli said, “I must state that government does not have any interest in disturbing business interest of the private sector because we believe strongly that the Organised Private Sector contributes tremendously to the state economy as we will also acknowledge the fact that the government is doing well in making the environment very conducive for businesses to operate.

“However, we need you (OPS) as you need us (government). We will not want to embark on enforcement unless it is absolutely necessary.

“Our process and procedures are not driven by political considerations. OYBIR work for the state government and our intention is to rake in revenue after following due process. We did some enforcement and unfortunately, people are trying to read some political meanings to the exercise. We never shut down any business firm politics.

“There was an enforcement and we distrain activities at Obasanjo farms, it was not done politically but because that organization did not pay what they were supposed to pay and I am glad to tell you that the company, just like many others also  affected have come back to pay what they are supposed to pay and the business premises have since been re-opened.

“Our system is not political. We did our job basically on what the firms were supposed to pay and where they don’t pay, we do the needful by enforcing. People should not read political colourations to our efforts.

“And everybody should be able to separate statutory duties and functions from politics. Payment of taxes is statutory. It is law. It is the moral duty and civil responsibilities of everybody. So, there is no relationship between tax payment and politics as far as we are concerned and we will do the needful and whoever is involved, we will make sure that they pay."

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