From Ado Abubakar Musa Jos
The Plateau State Revenue Task Force on Wednesday pledged to prosecute and sanction any tax defaulter including corporate bodies, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the state.
The Task Force Chairman, Mrs Tamwakat Weli gave the warning in an interview with newsmen in Jos yesterday.
“In fact, as a state Government, we are not happy with our present IGR; this informed the formation of this task force aimed at raising the IGR to an impressive level for the benefit of our citizens, ’’ she said.
Weli, who is the State Finance Commissioner, said the task force, recently inaugurated by Governor Simon Lalong, would no longer tolerate a situation whereby tax payers deliberately refused to come forward to pay tax to the government toward meeting the social needs of the citizens.
Speaking through the chairman of Plateau State Internal Revenue Service (PSIRS), Mr Dashe Arlat, who is a member of the task force, Weli disclosed that 7 courts have been allocated to the task force for prosecution of defaulters across the state.
“Thanks to the State Chief Judge (CJ), who has allocated two magistrates courts to us in each of our Senatorial Districts and a High Court in Jos for the prosecution of high profile tax defaulters in the State.
“We have allocated a Conference Hall here in the Revenue House for the High court Judge to sit over cases in respect to tax issues on any day of the week, ’’ the chairman explained.
She explained that Magistrates Courts in Shendam and Langtang North LGAs would serve the southern zone, Mangu and Pankshin Magistrates Courts for the Central Zone while the Bukuru and West of Mines Magistrates Courts and the High Court would serve the Northern Zone respectively.
The task force chairman also said that the prosecution would not exclude MDAs who failed to key into the state’s Treasury Single Account (TSA).
She said, “already, we have begun scrutinizing and auditing all the MDAs to detect those of them who have been defaulting in paying into the TSA as directed by our able governor years ago.’’
According to her, some of the MDA s were responsible for some of leakages in tax collections in the state and warned, “enough is enough of such unholy and unproductive attitude.’’
The chairman also disclosed that the Police and NCDSC, who are part of the task force were to effect arrest of any recalcitrant defaulter no matter his or her statue in the society.
She also warned corporate organizations and federal MDAs to cooperate with the task force and equally response positively to their civic responsibility of paying their taxes as when due so as to avoid the wrath of the task force.
Our Correspondent reports that the terms of reference of the task force include monitoring revenue collections by all MDAs and ensure lodgment of same into consolidated TSA, and identify defaulters for prosecution in accordance with civil service rules.
Others include identifying areas of leakages of revenue collections and make monthly report on performances of MDAs and carry out functions that would boost the State’s IGR.