Enugu govt seals 16 institutions over alleged tax evasion

The Chairman of the State Internal Revenue Service (ES-IRS), Mr Emmanuel Nnamani, disclosed this at his maiden news briefing on the operations of the service

The Enugu State Government, on Friday, sealed the premises of 16 corporate institutions, including schools, hotels, and consulting firms in different parts of Enugu metropolis, over alleged tax evasion.

The Chairman of the State Internal Revenue Service (ES-IRS), Mr. Emmanuel Nnamani, disclosed this at his maiden news briefing on the operations of the service.

The 16 sealed institutions span various sectors, highlighting the comprehensive nature of the government’s crackdown. Educational institutions, hotels, and consulting firms, once bustling with activity, now find their operations suspended as they face the consequences of alleged tax evasion. This move serves as a stark reminder that tax compliance is not selective; every sector must contribute its fair share to the community’s development.

The Enugu State Government’s decision to seal these establishments is not merely punitive; it sends a clear message that tax evasion will not be tolerated. By taking such bold action, the government aims to establish a culture of compliance, emphasizing that businesses, regardless of their nature, must honor their fiscal responsibilities to support the state’s growth and development initiatives.

Nnamani said the organisation decided to embark on the exercise following the alleged refusal by the owners and management of the businesses to respond to the government’s repeated reminder letters.

“We have written to them several times, but they thought it was business as usual.

“So, we approached the court, and the court gave us authority to seal the premises,” he said.

The state IRS boss further said that the companies and businesses in Enugu State, since 2015, had not paid taxes, amounting to several millions of naira, to the state.

Nnamani said this was the reason people did not see any reason to pay tax under the current administration.

“Those who pay tax in Enugu State are not up to 10 percent.

“We are losing huge amounts of money to tax defaulters every month,” he said.

According to him, the current government is determined to provide amenities for the people, using the internally generated revenue that is not forthcoming.

“The government recently flagged off the construction of 71 roads in the state capital, among several others, and we need money to execute all these projects.

“If people do not pay their taxes, where then do we get the required money to execute such people-oriented projects?”

Enugu State’s bold move to seal 16 institutions over alleged tax evasion is a significant development that highlights the government’s commitment to fostering economic stability and equitable resource distribution. While the immediate impact may be felt by the affected businesses, the overarching goal is to instill a culture of tax compliance that will contribute to the state’s sustainable development. As the legal processes unfold, it remains to be seen how this action will shape future tax enforcement strategies and whether it will serve as a deterrent for businesses contemplating tax evasion. Ultimately, this episode underscores the intricate balance governments must strike between enforcing fiscal responsibility and maintaining a conducive environment for business growth.

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