The Executive Director, Recovery and Enforcement, Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service, Mr. Leo Umana,pasting the default notice on Mobil facility in Ibeno.

Abasifreke Effiong

Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, operator of the NNPC/MPN Joint Venture and Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB) are said to be owing the Akwa Ibom state government more than N24.68 billion in PAYE taxes.

Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service says the companies have been underpaying deductible taxes from their staff salaries, known as PAYE, which should accrue to the state.

PAYE (Pay As You Earn) is the tax deducted from salaries of staff.

Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited is owing Akwa Ibom state a backlog of PAYE taxes amounting to N24.5 billion while GTB is owing N184 million, according to the Akwa Ibom state Internal Revenue Service.

The Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service pasted notice of tax default and non-compliance on Mobil terminal at Ibeno and a branch of GTB along Abak road, Uyo on Tuesday morning.

The default notice is being served on the international oil giant barely two weeks after the Akwa Ibom state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, and host communities met with management of the company.

The Executive Director, Recovery and Enforcement, Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service, Mr. Leo Umana, said the arrears were backlog accumulating from under-payment.

Umana in a telephone interview with The Dune said the companies have not been remitting the exact amount due to the state.

“We engaged a consultant to investigate tax liabilities. So it was the investigation that revealed that these companies have been under-paying. We don’t want companies to cheat the government and we don’t want to cheat any taxpayer.”

“Our consultant said Mobil was owing about N53billion but during reconciliation it was resolved to N24.5billion, Mobil was part of the reconciliation. After then, we have been meeting with them but it has not produced result. They have been playing hide and seek, we have asked them to produce document of payment if they say they are not owing but they have not done so, so they have not disputed our figures.”

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He said the notice was served on the organisations after exhausting all negotiations.

“We have had series of meetings with their representatives, and we have exhausted all avenues of discussion and negotiation; so the notice today is just a warning.”

Mobil, GTBank owe Akwa Ibom state N24.68 billion PAYE taxes> A member of AKIRS enforcement team pasting tax default notice on the signboard of Mobil.

Umana said the state internal revenue service will take “drastic actions” against the organisations after seven days.

“If they don’t respond after seven days we will a drastic action against them. We are using this to send strong signal to other tax payers.”

The Dune also learnt that the Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service has also served default notice on Fortune Schools, a front-line private secondary school in the state. The school is said to being owing an arrears of N20million.