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Non-remittance Of Tax: A’Ibom Govt In Legal Battle With Total E & P, Addax



….as AKHA Gives AKIRS Pat On The Back

By Ekemini Simon


The Akwa Ibom State Government has said that they are in Court with Total Exploration and Production (Total E&P) and Addax Petroleum Corporation over non- remittance of PAYE Tax to the Akwa Ibom State Government.

This was made known by the Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday when Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly visited the Board for oversight function.

The Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service (AKIRS), Mr Okon Okon, noted that although Addax and Total E & P claim that they are not operating within the territorial waters of Akwa Ibom, laws governing marine operations show that the oil companies are exploring the oil and gas of the state.

He said although they have found it difficult to access the oil companies through the waters, they have perfected strategies to get what is due the state and have started through legal actions.


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Okon stated that they are currently in court over the issue and are optimistic that the right of the state will be upheld.

While noting that the challenge is not peculiar to only Total E & P and Addax, the Chairman said the tax authority also experiences tax non-compliance by marine and oil servicing companies but, however, noted that they “will smoke them out”.

The Chairman who stated that other challenges bedeviling AKIRS include dilapidated vehicles for tax enforcement, assured that they will rise above the challenge and ensure they generate the estimated revenue for the state towards the realization of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s completion agenda.

Okon mentioned that in the 2020 fiscal year, AKIRS targets to generate Internally Generated Revenue of N52 billion.


RELATED: Mr Okon Okon: Breaking Barriers to Meet Target at AKIRS


He noted that within the first quarter of 2020, the amount generated has been impressive, stressing that the first quarter result, when out, will be exciting to Akwa Ibom people.



The Board Chairman informed the State Lawmakers that the board has set five cardinal goals for themselves which he maintained will contribute to the growth of the state.


AKIRS Boss with Lawmakers inspecting facilities within AKIRS Premises

He mentioned the five goals to include: rapidly grow the IGR of the state, change of infrastructure, staff welfare, switch from analogue taxation to digitalization and building an institution that will guarantee sustained goals of IGR.



Okon stated, “For our first goal, we are committed to always increase the IGR each year. That, you have seen in our records. We will keep on.



“On our second goal of changing the face of our infrastructure, we want to have good working tools and also have an environment that will make us have a sense of enterprising spirit. We want to break the barriers of bureaucracy. We desire to have a building where all those with us will work together and not in a separate premises.



“We also want to touch meaningfully our staff welfare. We call it humanness. Our staff are those who are the driving force for the state to have improved revenue. So they must be encouraged in their work.



“We also have the goal of moving quickly from analogue to automation so as to minimize leakages and improve efficiency. This, we have gone far.



“Finally, we are building an institution that will guarantee sustained goal of IGR even when we leave. Until we achieve this, we won’t rest on our oars. This is very dear to our heart. We want an institution that will work for itself and outlive this administration. “


Chairman AKIRS, Mr Okon Okon

While noting that the IGR of the State has never exceeded N15 billion until the tenure of the current Board, the Chairman said under the Udom Emmanuel administration, the trend in the State’s IGR for the past five years has improved as follows: 2015- N14.78 billion, 2016-14.97 billion, 2017- N15.96, 2018- N24.21 billion, and in 2019- N32.29 billion.



Okon offered insight to the fact that the steady rise in revenue generation for the state stems from the reforms in revenue administration initiated by Governor Udom Emmanuel.



He said that the reform commenced with the granting of autonomy to the Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service in June 2016 with consequent inauguration of the current Board in April 2017. The Chairman promised to send three bills to the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly after getting the Governor’s approval stressing that the bill will contribute immensely towards improved IGR of the State.



Earlier, the Chairman, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly Committee on Appropriation and Finance, Rt Hon Uduak Odudoh, commended AKIRS over their strides in the IGR generated for the State.



While encouraging the service to do more, Odudoh assured AKIRS of the backings from the state legislature.



He added, “We read in the news that ExxonMobil had refused to remit their tax. That is a big crime. We are glad that you gave them warning notice. As a committee, we did our investigation and saw that you were right. Other organizations, if they don’t pay tax, please enforce the law.



“We want to know the companies operating in Akwa Ibom State. Ensure you give us the data so that we can know those who are not complying, hence we sanction such companies. That will serve as a deterrent. This includes even private business owners.



“Considering the economic challenges facing Nigeria, we have to look away from oil. Let’s look at other informal sectors on how we can generate revenue. And that is where you have a very serious role to play.”


“You have been very impressive so far and we are proud of your strides. However, your Board has a lot of roles to play for the completion agenda of Governor Udom Emmanuel to be successful. Look deep, look well, close loopholes and eradicate sharp practices so that you can meet up your target”.



The Committee Chairman informed AKIRS that within the first quarter, they will embark on budget appraisal to check the level of implementation. In his remark, the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Aniekan Bassey, commended AKIRS over the strides they have recorded in the generation of revenue for the State.



Represented by Member for Etinan State Constituency, Rt Hon Aniefiok Dennis, the Speaker assured the AKIRS of the support from the House of Assembly in their bid to meet the IGR target of the State.

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