Dogara warns telecom firms against tax evasion
• Reps’ panel begins probe of FIRS activities from 2005 till date
• Summons chiefs over alleged N143 billion tax liabilities
• Senate alerts global businesses may suffer $2tr loss to cybercrime in 2019
• Says Nigeria may incur N127 billion of the losses
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has warned telecommunications firms in the country against tax evasion.He said tax payments were constitutional requirements for individuals and corporate organisations in Nigeria.
Dogara, who spoke yesterday at the opening of investigations by ad-hoc committee investigating operational activities of telecommunications equipment and service companies and vendors in Nigeria, said it was in view of allegations that some of the firms were evading taxes that the House mandated the ad-hoc committee to conduct the probe.
“It is important, perhaps, to remind ourselves at this point that all non-human persons are the creation of law and therefore, it’s incumbent on organisations doing business in Nigeria to conduct their business in line with the constitution, the law as well as all rules and regulations governing the industry in which they operate, including the present administration’s zero tolerance for tax evasion,” he said.
Meanwhile, the panel chairman, Ahmed Abu, at the forum, said that lawmakers had commenced investigation into tax-related activities of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) from 2005 till date.
Abu, who stated that the committee had also invited all executive chairmen of the service who presided over the affairs of the organisation within the period, said besides FIRS, others invited to appear before the committee tomorrow include the Minister of Communication Technology, Adebayo Shittu; Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), MTN Nigeria Limited, Globacom Nigeria, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Airtel Nigeria and National Lottery Commission (NLC) and other relevant stakeholders in the industry.
According to him, the investigation is sequel to ‘claim and counter-claim’ that some telecoms’ firms, vendors and communication service providers in the country were up till date owing FIRS N143.434 billion.
In another development, the Senate has alerted that businesses across the globe stand to lose over $2 trillion by 2019 to cyber crime.Chairman, Senate Committee on ICT and Cybercrime, Abdulfatai Buhari (APC, Oyo North), who raised the alarm in Abuja yesterday just as the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said Nigeria alone suffered N127 billion of the losses, said the activities of criminal elements in the societies across the world, especially in vulnerable ones like Nigeria, had made the invention of cyber technology a nightmare for operators.
According to him, activities of such criminal elements have resulted into heavy losses in businesses going by available statistics.Saraki said the porousness of Nigeria’s cyberspace should be addressed very urgently to prevent the huge economic losses.
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