An energy company in Nigeria’s North-Central Plateau State, the Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JED), has said the Benue State Government is indebted to the Energy Company, a total sum of 1,427,999.67.
Spokesman for JED, Dr. Adakole Elijah, said the government is actually owing the company a total sum of ₦157,943,414.14 as accumulated debt, while JED on the other hand, is also indebted to the Benue State Board of Internal Revenue Service (BIRS), a total sum of ₦156,515,414.47.
“An agreement was reached and we asked the Task Agency to deduct our debt from the N157 million owned by the State government and pay us a balance of 1,427,999.67, but they refused and rather went ahead to seal our premises”, Elijah said in a statement sent to our correspondent on Thursday.
However the Task Agency had said it sealed the Energy premises in Makurdi city capital and Gboko community, due to a task of N433.1 million owed, a claim JED has refuted, saying “we are not owing you”.
A local tabloid had reported that the Task Agency sealed JED premises for defaulting to the tune of over N433.1 million, stating that after several discussions and notifications as well as being served the mandatory notices to pay up, JED failed to do so, necessitating a court restrain warrant obtained in April which the Task Agency enforced by sealing the company.
Responding JED said: “It is untrue that the company was owing the Revenue Service the humongous amount of money being claimed by its Chairperson, Mrs Mimi Adzape – Orubibi.
“The electricity company was not in debt as far as remittance of P.A.Y.E was concerned. There is incontrovertible evidence to show that JED has been remitting their PAYE to the Board Account Number – Union Bank 0025168481. This could be gleaned from several correspondences and meetings to this effect.
“To resolve the impasse, the two bodies mandated their tax consultants to ascertain the true situation of things. we were represented by our task consultant, (SANDSTONE ASSOCIATES LIMITED)”, Elijah said.
He continued: “In a letter dated 12th May 2022, SANDSTONES LIMITED on behalf of Jos Electricity Distribution Plc stated as thus – Please recall that all the Demand Notices stated in your letter were responded to, stating explicitly grounds of objection through our letters dated 30th April 2021 and 7th May 2021.
“We had an audit reconciliation meeting with your Director of Taxes on the 28th of September 2021 where we presented JED Plc’s tax position and related evidence of payments for the period under review”, Elijah said.
JED said to arrive at an amicable resolution of the issues, JED tax consultant met with the BIRS tax consultant, Mr John where the said tax issues were subjected to thorough scrutiny for six weeks and reconciled figure of ₦156,515,414.47 was arrived at on the 23rd February, 2022.
“Meanwhile, the Benue State Government indebtedness to Jos Disco as at 31st December, 2021 is ₦157,943,414.14.
“While this was ongoing JED, as a responsible corporate personality, pleaded with the Management of BIRS to, in the spirit of business relationship, swap the said total tax liability by deducting it from the State government’s indebtedness to the company.
“The sealing of the company’s premises shows that BIRS has rejected that friendly request, meaning that they do not want to pay what the State government is owing the company but want JED Plc to pay what they are owing in taxes”, JED said.