The telecommunications operators under the aegis of Association of Licenced Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has decried the sealing of 9mobile Nigeria’s regional office in Port Harcourt by the Rivers State Internal Revenue Service (RIRS) since June 26, 2018.
ALTON in a letter made available to LEADERSHIP, jointly signed by chairman, Gbenga Adebayo, and Kazeem Oladepo, security secretary, addressed to executive chairman, RIRS, said sealing of 9mobile’s Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services premises over N107.9 million disputed Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) tax liability of expatriates by RIRS was unlawful.
ALTON stated that 9Mobile did not have any expatriate(s) on its payroll who were residing in Rivers State within the assessment period. “EMTS is clearly not indebted to the government of Rivers State for the alleged tax. EMTS had, at several meetings and by various correspondence explained and maintained that it is not indebted to the government of Rivers State as alleged by the RIRS, as it has never had expatriate employees working or residing in the state, and provided relevant documents in support of its position.
“Based on our findings, we wish to categorically reiterate that EMTS is not indebted to the government of Rivers State and that the sealing of EMTS’ premises is illegal, especially as it was carried out without a court order and without adherence to the due process of law.
“The conduct of the RIRS in this regard, apart from being a clear contravention of the law, goes against the efforts of government at improving Nigeria’s position on the global ease of doing business index, to encourage foreign investment. Also by applying self-help remedies especially in a situation where the claim is erroneous, the RIRS has portrayed the state in very bad light as unfriendly and not welcoming of investors.”
Oluseyi Osunsedo, acting director, regulatory/corporate affairs and Murtala Baloni, acting head, public policy and government affairs, 9Mobile in another letter to ALTON said EMTS has suffered incalculable financial loss as the sales outlet which is within the premises has remained closed, preventing it from serving its esteemed customers.
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