The Bayelsa Board of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Wednesday decried the poor taxpaying culture amongst corporate organisations operating in the oil rich state.
Dr Nimibofa Ayawei, the Executive Chairman of BIR told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa that such attitude had been an obstacle to boosting the internally generated revenue profile of the state.
Ayawei said that the exponential growth of the internal revenue of the state, which crossed the N1 billion mark in 2017, was achieved by dint of hard work.
He said that the board had intensified its revenue generation drive and was working to enforce compliance of the tax laws to ensure that additional funds were made available to complement the oil revenue.
“The board has commenced aggressive tax enforcement and the results have reflected in our revenue profile.
“But one major problem is the reluctant attitude of corporate organisations to meeting their tax obligations to Bayelsa Government.
“We have had to resort to litigation to achieve the over N1 billion monthly revenue mark we achieved in 2017, which has affected and increased our cost of collection.
“We have been compelled to obtain orders of the courts to seal some organisations ordinarily expected to remit Pay as You Earn (PAYE) taxes to the state, but they have always been very uncooperative.
“One clear case is the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC); in June 2017, we sealed the building housing the NDDC when the liability was N336 million.
“Following the intervention of stakeholders, we unsealed the place and the agreement we reached was that NDDC would liquidate the debt in two tranches within two months.
“The NDDC paid half of the sum N168 million leaving the balance of N168 million unpaid.
“More than six months after, we sealed the place; it is sad to note that we were compelled again to go back on Jan. 22, 2018 and seal the Bayelsa office of NDDC and the place is under seal till date,” the chairman said.
Ayawei said that the board would act within the ambits of the law in ensuring that companies operating in Bayelsa comply with the tax laws to boost the state revenue profile.
He said that the BIR officials were working to sensitising the public to change the negative attitude toward payment of taxes to reverse tax evasion and avoidance.