Miffed by the attitude of some banks in the state, which have refused to remit funds collected from customers in form of taxes, the Enugu State government has clamped down on about eight banks, and sealed off their premises.
The banks with a combined strength of about 36 branches spread across the state are said to be withholding about N1 billion collected from their customers on behalf of the government.
The banks whose branches were allegedly sealed include Access Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC, Skye Bank, Union Bank, Unity Bank, Heritage Bank, Keystone Bank and Sterling Bank.
Officials of the Enugu State Board of Internal Revenue, in company of mobile policemen reportedly sealed off the branch premises of the affected banks located within Enugu metropolis, Agbani town and Ituku Ozalla on Monday morning, ensuring they did not carry out normal business.
According to Mr. Emeka Odo, chairman of the board, the action became necessary as several meetings, and repeated letters to the banks to remit the funds yielded no result.
“In the past one year, we have written the affected banks severally and held meetings with them on the subject matter but they would rather hold on to government funds illegally”, he stated.
He told newsmen in Enugu, that the board had on February 6 and 16, 2017 obtained exparte orders from the State High Court to restrain the affected banks, and that they would remain under lock and key until they remit to the state government all the taxes they had collected and withheld.
According to him, the banks were sabotaging government efforts, as the state while encouraging tax payers and agents to voluntarily pay their taxes promptly, had also reformed the process of collection to make it easier on stakeholders.
He noted that the process had also been made easier for banks to pay their taxes like other corporate citizens.
He further lamented, that “The action of these banks has been denying the state government of the funds it needs to execute its developmental programmes which would impact positively on the lives of the people.
“The sealing of the banks is the first phase of the enforcement exercise on major companies and institutions, to ensure that they perform their civic obligation to the state government,” Odo said.
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