Tax evasion: Govt to take over 30 company properties

FG, states, LGs share N647.35bn for January
Zainab Ahmed, finance minister

The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Mr. Babatunde Fowler, has disclosed that no fewer than 30 properties risk being taken over by the Federal Government.

The properties, he said, were linked to some companies not paying taxes.

Making the disclosure at a media briefing with the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, in attendance, Fowler said the companies linked to the properties had already written to government to deny ownership.

He said in that case, the government would be left with no choice but to take over the properties.

His words:  “We have certain private organisations that own properties in Nigeria and have not been paying any taxes.

“So we took a review of all properties and we have about 2,000 that were under corporate ownership and those corporate entities have not paid any tax.

“By law, where a company has not filed or paid any taxes, we have to use estimated assessment based on turnover.

“Out of the 2,000, about 569 have come forward to pay taxes. We have done an assessment of N8bn, while the others have asked for payment by instalment.

“Also, 116 claimed not to own those properties. 30 of them have put it in writing claiming that they do not own the properties in question.

“We have written accordingly to the Ministry of Finance and we believe that the government will take those properties over in line with the law.”

Also speaking during the briefing, the Minister of Finance said the Federal Government had paid over N6.11 trillion to settle inherited debts and liabilities to states, contractors, and joint venture partners, among others, between May 29, 2015, and December 2018.

She said the debts inherited by the government was paid despite the low revenue in the last three years.

The minister explained that while about N1.65 trillion  was used to pay state governments for the refund of excess deductions made from the Paris Club debt, about N2.07 trillion was spent on settling the Joint Venture Cash Call obligations.

She stated further that Contractors/Export Expansion Grants debt of N1.9tn was settled while about N488bn spent by state governments on road projects had also been paid.

Among other details, the minister said government had released N54 billion to settle outstanding pension arrears in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Pension claims, she said, were also paid up to March of last year.