N1.8BN TAX DEBT:
Osun revenue agency seals off OAU
Officials of the Osun State Internal Revenue Service on Wednesday morning visited the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife and sealed off the main gate and the administrative block over an alleged non-payment of about N1.8bn tax.
Our correspondent gathered that the officials of the revenue agency together with some heavily armed security operatives acted after obtaining an order of the court to do so.
The Acting Chairman of the agency, Mr. Bicci Alli, did not answer the phone when our correspondent called to obtain explanation on his agency’s action.
But one of the OAU officials told our correspondent via the phone that the officials came with policemen and members of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and shut down the main gate before going ahead to seal off other places.
He said, “Officials of the Osun State revenue agency sealed off our main gate and the secretariat and the other places this morning. They came together with armed policemen and civil defence operatives.
“They closed the main gate and some members of staff, commercial bus drivers and business operators, especially food vendors and others became agitated and this led to a serious crisis. The gate was eventually opened but other places remained closed.”
The Vice-Chancellor of OAU, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, when contacted, confirmed the closure to our correspondent via the telephone, adding that the university had not defaulted in tax payment to the state since 2017.
He said the tax issue had to do with the backlog of 2015 and 2016, which the university had already negotiated with the state on how to settle.
He added that the Governing Council of the university had met with Governor Rauf Aregbesola on the issue and the governor understood with the university that the backlog could not be deducted at once from the salaries of workers.
He said the issue would be resolved very soon and normal activities would resume at the university.
The VC said, “It is true they sealed off the place. The truth is that there was a backlog of 2015 and 2016 and we have agreed to be paying N5m every month. We paid N500m and agreed to be paying N5 m every month.
But from January 2017, we have been paying our normal PAYE deductions every month which is thirty something million, we have been paying. So, we are going to negotiate with them again on it.”
“The backlog was caused by under-deduction of PAYE. We have not reneged on any of our obligations since 2017. I am confident that this issue will be resolved. The Governing Council of the university met with Governor Rauf Aregbesola in March on the same issue and he understood the reason and our pledge to pay it every month.”
– Copyright PUNCH