Oyo State Government says it shut Obasanjo Farms over the non-payment of taxes and not for political reasons.
Obasanjo Farms and 40 other firms were shut in the last few days by the Oyo State Board of Internal Revenue after several overtures to their managements, according to the agency’s chairman, Mr Bicci Alli.
Obasanjo Farms belongs to a former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
The former president, who was also a military head of state, has been a fierce critic of the Buhari administration and there were insinuations that the farms were shut for political reasons.
However, Ali told the audience on Thursday in Ibadan at a sensitisation and enlightenment meeting with the Organised Private Sector and Chambers of Commerce under the aegis of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, that the agency had nothing to do with politic.
He stated: “I must state that government does not have any interest in disturbing business interest of the private sector because we believe strongly that the Organised Private Sector contributes tremendously to the state’s economy as we will also acknowledge the fact that the government is doing well in making the environment very conducive for businesses to operate.
“However, we need you (OPS) as you need us (government). We will not want to embark on enforcement unless it is absolutely necessary.
“Our process and procedures are not driven by political considerations. OYBIR work for the state government and our intention is to rake in revenue after following due process. We did some enforcement and unfortunately, people are trying to read some political meanings to the exercise. We never shut down any business firm politics.
“There was an enforcement and we distrain activities at Obasanjo farms, it was not done politically but because that organization did not pay what they were supposed to pay and I am glad to tell you that the company, just like many others also affected have come back to pay what they are supposed to pay and the business premises have since been re-opened.
“Our system is not political. We did our job basically on what the firms were supposed to pay and where they don’t pay, we do the needful by enforcing. People should not read political colourations to our efforts. “And everybody should be able to separate statutory duties and functions from politics. Payment of taxes is statutory. It is law. It is the moral duty and civil responsibilities of everybody. So, there is no relationship between tax payment and politics as far as we are concerned and we will do the needful and whoever is involved, we will make sure that they pay.”