LCCI cautions FIRS against debiting companies’ accounts over tax default

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…Stressess that elections must be free, fair and credible***

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has strongly cautioned the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) against unilaterally freezing and debiting companies’ bank accounts on grounds of tax defaults.

LCCI Director-General, Muda Yusuf, also urged FIRS and banks to exercise utmost restraint in adopting tax revenue recovery strategy based on its grave implications for investors, financial inclusion and the economy.

“The damage to the economy may be much more than the contemplated revenue. Revenue generation is not an end in itself, it is a means to an end.

“The ultimate objective is to ensure equity, improve welfare of citizens, create jobs and promote the advancement of the economy.

“The disruptions to businesses resulting from a sudden freezing of bank accounts for reasons of alleged default in tax payment has caused irreparable reputational damage to many businesses,” Yusuf said in a statement.

The FIRS move was premised on the powers conferred on it by Section 31 of the FIRS Act to appoint collection agents for the recovery of tax payable by the taxpayer.

Yusuf commended the Federal Government for the first tranche payment of N237 billion promissory notes outstanding petroleum subsidy claims.

“The Chamber urged the government to effect the payment of the balance of the subsidy claims without delay,” he said.

Yusuf also commended the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in granting partial interest waivers to oil marketers on their indebtedness to banks.

“The Chamber also proposed the expeditious passage and assent of the Petroleum Industry Bill and the deregulation of the sector to put an end to the recurring subsidy problem,” he said.

Besides, the Chamber stressed the need for the upcoming general elections to be free, fair and credible.

“A peaceful environment is crucial for political stability, economic progress, social stability and societal cohesion.

“No significant investment will take place in an environment that is politically and socially unstable,” he said.

He stressed that the neutrality of INEC, the security agencies and the judiciary was critical to the success of the electoral process.