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House of Reps to 9Mobile, Globacom: You have cases to answer over tax remittances

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House of Representatives  is not soft-pedalling on the alleged failure of two telecommunications companies (in Nigeria) to remit taxes.

The House said, for the failure to pay their statutory taxes and the required percentages of their profits to federal government, the Managing Directors of 9mobile and Globacom Nigeria must appear before it.

The Chairman, House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating the operations of telecommunications service providers, equipment and vendors, Hon. Ahmed Abu, conveyed the message at a hearing at the National Assembly Complex.

The chairman, who was specific on the Managing Directors of 9mobile, Boye Olusanya and Hakeem Bello -Osagie said that the summons became necessary following the failure of the companies to honour repeated invitations sent to them.

He said that the committee might be compelled to issue bench warrants against the companies should they continue to turn down invitations from the federal lawmakers.

He said: “This is not about me. It’s about the House of Representatives, and we’re representing Nigerians. A situation where invitations will be issued to telecommunications companies over issues that affect Nigerians and they fell to appear before us, is rather unfortunate.

“What we are saying is that if things are done right, the creative industry, for instance, can generate so much revenue for the players in it and the government.”

The Chairman also decried poor remittances from the National Lottery Trust Fund to the federal government coffers, saying that with the existing laws governing the lottery activities in the country, the Funds ought to have made appreciable impacts.

But making his presentation, Engr. Habu Gumel, Executive Secretary of the Fund, said that the Fund had attracted N530m in the last nine years for the government from the companies doing business in the country.

He however said the poor remittances, which represented value for lottery money, was on account of “issue of under-declaration of remittances by operations, lack of credible database to ascertain the actual and precise amount due to government as returns for good causes”.

In his submission, Okechukwu Odunna, representative of National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), also corroborated the position of the Lottery Funds Executive Secretary, saying that the mechanisms for tracking businesses of the telecommunications firms were to be measured by the government.

Ruling on the issues, the Chairman of the Committee said that the panel was not working at cross purposes with the standing committee of the House responsible for over-sighting the companies.

He said that the House set up the panel due to the sensitivity of the matters to be probed.