NARTO Fumes Over Wrong Tax Deduction

•Alhaji Kassim Bataiya… NARTO National President

•Alhaji Kassim Bataiya... NARTO National President

•Alhaji Kassim Bataiya... NARTO National President
•Alhaji Kassim Bataiya… NARTO National President

The leadership of National Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, has expressed dissatisfaction over the failure of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, to refund Withholding Tax fees wrongfully deducted by Major Oil Marketers from his members.

According to a statement released by the association, some members of NARTO who engaged in the transportation of petroleum products were allegedly surcharged between May 2005 and May, 2012. The amount, in excess of five per cent withholding tax, was said to be wrongfully deducted by major oil marketers from NARTO members’ bills submitted for payment and paid to FIRS. While some of the affected NARTO drivers claimed to have fulfilled all conditions laid down by FIRS, every effort to ensure the funds are refunded has proved abortive. “You may wish to be informed that the association engaged the service of a Tax Consultant who has been coordinating the process for the refund which started in 2011 and in spite the fact that some of our members have met the conditions set by FIRS to entitle them to the said refund, FIRS has continued to hold onto the money due them without any satisfactory explanation,’’ the statement read. The said amount, according to the leadership of NARTO may be running into millions of naira.

Speaking with P.M.NEWS Business Week in Lagos, Alhaji Kassim Bataiya, National President, NARTO, bemoaned the delay in the payment of the refund. He revealed that the amount has adversely affected business obligations of members and also NARTO, in meeting the existing agreements between NARTO and PTD Branch of NUPENG, in respect of the review of salary and conditions of service for drivers, signed and expected to have taken effect from August, 2012.

“You may recall that in the discussions that eventually led to the execution of the agreement, we had emphasized that the implementation of the agreement between NARTO and PTD Branch of NUPENG will be contingent upon the receipt, by members of our association involved in the transportation of petroleum products.

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“This situation however, has seriously affected the expected income of our members thereby making it difficult for us to meet our obligation as contained in the agreement. Nevertheless, we assure you that our association is still bound by the contents and spirit of that agreement as the association is always ready to ensure an improvement in your members’ welfare though hamstrung in this case, based on our explanation above,’’ he stated.

Bataiya reiterated NARTO’s commitment to ensuring harmony in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry and availability of petroleum products in all the nooks and crannies of the country.  He however, promised that the leadership of NARTO will take the appeal for the immediate implementation of the agreement serious and will in this connection, double efforts at ensuring that FIRS begins immediate refund, to the members, their entitlements.

—Femi Ayodele

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