***FCT Minister warns against payment of tax to private accounts
The FCT Administration has put machinery in motion to harmonise taxes in the Federal Capital Territory to reduce cases of multiple taxation.
The FCT Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello, stated this while receiving members of the Hotel Owners Forum, FCT Chapter that paid him a visit in Abuja.
The minister said that one of the areas that have been of great concern to the FCT Administration is multiplicity of taxes; stressing that the FCT Inland Revenue Services in concert with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) will work out a modalities to harmonize all taxes.
His words: “One area that has been of great challenge to us is the multiplicity of taxes that FCT residents pay. It’s something that is of great concern and jointly with the Federal Inland Revenue Service together with the FCT Inland Revenue Service which will soon be operational, will work on what is already being done nationally so that we can harmonise all these taxes.”
According to him, “the ultimate goal is for businesses and organisations to just make one payment to a particular agency and that agency divides the payments to all the others. That way, you don’t have to communicate with five or six different people coming to you and you don’t know who is genuine and who is not genuine. I can assure you we are on the path towards being able to surmount that”.
Malam Bello revealed that in no distant future, the Administration would sort out all these problems of multiple taxation and give the residents a clear programme and road map as to what the collections are supposed to be.
He, however, warned that on no condition must any kind of tax be paid into private accounts because taxes are meant for the government.
“With regard to taxation, I want to clearly tell you now that any person that comes to you and says pay tax into a private account, don’t pay. Taxation is for government. Even if for any reason, taxes are being collected through consultants and so on, first and foremost, the taxes go to government coffers, then government pays the consultants. If you have a problem, report to me directly through your association,” the Minister emphasized.
Bello added, “On the issue of the tenement rate and area of the jurisdictions of the area councils, particularly AMAC, it’s something that is in the court, so I will not say anything right now. But what we are trying to do will take care of all these and everybody will be carried along”.
The minister regretted the “economic situation has affected almost every sector of the nation but that it’s a reality that nations go through and I think it’s not peculiar to Nigeria”.
He, however, assured that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is very conscious of the need to encourage the private sector because government alone cannot cater for the employment needs of all Nigerians.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Hotel Owners Forum, Eze Maxwell Omerra Kanu remarked that the forum has about 250 Hotels in its membership and called on the Minister to help resolve problems of multiple taxations in the Federal Capital Territory.
Eze Kanu appealed to the minister to assist in ironing out problems of Land Use Contravention where their members are usually charged very high on yearly basis.
He also called for the review of the Abuja master plan especially as it concerns hotels and hospitality industry to provide more plots of land for such facilities.