By Zacchaeus Ozovehe.
For non-compliance with the Kogi State Registration of Business Premises Law, the state government has sealed the business premises of Tao FM and Always Petroleum and Energy Limited in Okene and Nagazi respectively.
The radio station which transmits across Kogi Central Senatorial District and beyond was said to have been pleading for tax holiday since the beginning of the administration of Alhaji Yahaya Bello while ‘Always Petroleum’ has failed to renew its business premises levy.
According to Kogi Internal Revenue Service (KIRS)’s Director of Legal Services and Enforcement, Mr Isah Jamil, the amount being owed by Tao FM is difficult to ascertain as the media management has displayed flagrant disrespect to entreaties made by KIRS to offset its dues.
“KIRS is not antithetical to the growth of business in the state but payment of various taxes are statutory which corporate organisation are supposed to adhere to”, he said.
Despite recognition of its roles in information dissemination in the state, Mr Jamil emphasised that the government cannot continue to grant the radio station tax holiday while others in the same corporate entity appropriately redeem their entitlements to the state.
While revealing that the station has been served necessary prior notices before enforcement of the distrain order, Mr Jamil said KIRS is ever ready to dialogue with all parties involved in order to avert possible repeat of the scenario.
However, some staff of Tao FM who were on duty when the station was being sealed expressed shock at the distrain exercise by KIRS officials.
While the station’s General Manager bluntly refused to speak with newsmen, a middle-aged man who claimed to be the Accountant of the media house alleged that some officials from KIRS had penultimate week came for auditing.
The Accountant insisted that KIRS Auditors okayed their tax payment records and wondered what prompted the closure of the station by the government.