…NDDC denies owing N50bn
Port Harcourt — The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has denied owing the Rivers State government a tax sum of N50 billion, saying it has not defaulted in meeting its tax obligations to the Rivers State Internal Revenue Services, RIRS.
The denial came as the RIRS again sealed the main entrance to the corporate headquarters of the NDDC over unpaid taxes amounting to billions of naira.
RIRS Executive Chairman, Mr. Adoage Norteh, said the unpaid taxes dated back to 2013, accusing the commission of not responding to any entreaty to pay the amount owed.
But, NDDC said it was in bad faith for RIRS to seal its premises again, since the Commission has as recently as January this year settled its outstanding tax obligations to RIRS.
Director of Corporate Affairs, NDDC, Charles Odili, explained that the commission had cleared all its withholding tax and pay-as-you-earn tax up to March 2019 and that its books were open for audit or reconciliation.
Odili said: “The commission is surprised that the state revenue agency is claiming an outstanding N50 billion. Our records show that this is not correct.
“It is rather curious that RIRS would rush to seal the gates of the commission, disrupting activities at its headquarters, without any form of notification.
“We have had cause to discuss our tax obligations with officials of the RIRS in the past and all the grey areas were resolved amicably. It is, therefore, an act of bad faith for the revenue agency to begin to take actions that impugns on the reputation of an interventionist agency that is serving the people of the Niger Delta region.
“We have cleared all withholding tax on enterprises and pay as your earn (PAYE) up to March, 2019, including arrears. If there is any other issue of outstanding tax obligation, it will only come up after reconciliation. Until then we cannot establish or determine underpayment or overpayment. And our books are open for audit or reconciliation.”
Odili stated that it was not right for only one party to claim to have established that there is underpayment or overpayment, explaining that such can only come to play after a thorough audit exercise.
“We can, under the circumstances, safely say that the RIRS came to seal off our premises without due process as notice of non-compliance was neither issued nor served on NDDC before the RIRS action.
“We therefore call on the RIRS to remove the sealing order on our premises to enable both parties enter into dialogue and agreeably resolve our differences,” he added.