– Scares away prospective investors, existing thriving firms
In what appears to be another obscene and obnoxious economic or financial policy of the Rescue Mission Agenda Administration, “Mrs. Henrietta Jacobs, Chairman of the Board of Internal Revenue (BIR) Imo state, has embarked on a subtle emasculation of viable business concerns and industries in Imo state. This is even coming on the heels of the demolition of several markets thus impoverishing Imo citizen and traders who patronize these manufacturing companies.
Though the idea is to raise the Internally Generated Revenue base of Imo state, the idea of imposing multiple taxations on manufacturing plants long after such establishments had paid their taxes to the relevant government agencies such as the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and the Local Government Areas, (LGA) is presently threatening the existence or survival of such companies. Most of them are at the verge of relocating their manufacturing plants from Imo state to avoid being run out of business.
The fear in Imo state is that where this evil machinations of the Henrietta Jacobs led BIR, is sustained, industrialists and employers of labour in the state will close shops and lay-off their staff who would consequently be thrown out of jobs and increase astronomically, the rising unemployment rate and state of hopelessness in the state.
Concerned Imolites have therefore expressed rude shock, and anxiety over the development wondering why the Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha, rather than fulfill his promise of Job! Job!! Job!!! is desperately seeking avenues to deprive the new lucky employees of their employment so that they can join the army of unemployed youths and become instruments for the rigging of the 2019 general elections in Imo state.
It will be recalled that in our last editions, the Community Watchdog Newspapers had raised the alarm and alerted citizens and residents of Imo state over concerted efforts by Henrietta Jacobs, to impose sundry taxes on surviving industries and motor vehicles by using armed thugs and task force officials to seal off AIFY Global Aluminum Company along Orlu Owerri road Egbeada. In a follow up letter dated Friday November 17, 2017, the said Imo BIR Chairman, Henrietta Jacobs, rather than accept the evidences already presented by AIFY Global management to prove that they have regularly and promptly paid their taxes to the relevant government agencies such as the FIRS and the LGA, invited the industrial giant to its office for what she terms “income tax assessment”.
From the written invitation, indications emerged that there are sinister motives behind Henrietta Jacobs actions. For instance, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer and his management were asked to come and explain the payment of taxes by the company’s directors and principal officers which is the responsibility of the company secretary or legal adviser. As if that embarrassment is not enough, Henrietta Jacobs now wants the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AIFY Global Aluminum Company Ltd, himself to bring along with him the companies audited accounts for the past six (6) years or within the period (2012-2017) during which period Okorocha took and held into office as Executive Governor of Imo state. Worst still, the Aluminum company is being compelled through the MD/CEO to make available to Henrietta Rajis Jacobs, all company bank statements for the same period of six years. Infact, they intend to expose the company to vagaries of criminal tendencies and eventualities by so doing. Some see this as unacceptable to scrutinize a companies financial statement as if it’s under probe by EFCC.
When contacted on this development, the Managing Director and Chief Executives Officer or AIFY Global Aluminum Ltd, Engr. (Chief) Ifeanyi Nwagu expressed shock at the demands stating that the company has since paid its taxes, rates and levies to the FIRS and other relevant agencies. He is therefore afraid that the idea behind the nefarious demands for audited accounts and bank statements for six years is hazardous threat of exposing the company to criminal elements who could cash in with the information to wreak havoc to the staff and management.
Also affected, the CEO of one of the firms which situates along Onitsha road Owerri, who pleaded anonymity, explained that his troubles started when some individuals approached him with the prospects of joining APC and sponsoring its candidates in the fast approaching elections of 2019. His refusal to join APC or support the continued political aspiration of the Governor, he stated has culminated in his continued “harassment over tax payments and assessment”.
He called on other industrialists and patriotic citizens of the state never to succumb to this obvious broad day robbery. He threatened that if the harassment from the Chairman of Imo BIR, Henrietta Jacobs, continues, they will be left with no other option than to close the business premises, throw out the workers and relocate their industries to another state with the enabling and conducive environment for businesses and investment to thrive.