Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KGIRS) has denied shutting down 150 telecommunications base stations in the state as recently alleged by the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).
The Director, Legal Services and Enforcement of the agency, Barr. Jamil Isah, in a statement issued on Wednesday in Lokoja, explained that only five sites of Airtel and about 10 sites of MTN were sealed for tax defaults following a court order obtained from a state High Court to distrain them.
He said the fees demanded from the two telecommunications were legal and backed by law enacted by the Kogi State House of Assembly contrary to the claims made by the telecommunications operators.
“The demanded levies, rents and fees are also not illegal. In the case of Airtel, they have not paid their Right of Way permit fees which allow them to lay fibre optic cables in Kogi state.
“This payment has been due and owing since 2006. There are also outstanding yearly rents payable on the Right of Way Permits for the years 2017 and 2018.
“There is also the Annual Social Service Development Levy and the Employee Economic Annual Development Levy. Penalty for failure to pay for right of Way Permit and some other penalties are included”, he said.
He noted that KGIRS has since this administration been sending several demand notices to the telecommunications outfits but had continued to refuse paying these fees and levies while only paying their PAYE.
He said based on this, Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KGIRS) proceeded to court in accordance with the law and obtained an order to distrain the business premises of Airtel and MTN to recoup the sum owed, the court having adjudged that they were due and owing.
He however said that negotiations were currently ongoing between the agency and Airtel, expressing optimism that their sites would be opened shortly.