Banks Ordered To Apologize To Imo Residents

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The Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha has ordered the leadership of the Imo Bankers forum to tender an apology to the residents of Imo State for engaging all banks in the State on a 3–day strike which not only halted economic activities but also unleashed untold hardship to the residents of the state.

Owelle Okorocha gave the order when he received in audience the representatives of the Forum who called on him at the Government House, Owerri.

He noted that only a branch of each of the 8 banks received court order to close operation for non-remittance of tax to government but was shocked that other branches of the said banks including those not involved in the tax issue joined in the three days strike!

‘Is it an attempt to sabotage activities of government through a forum that is not registered? Why did you not call your group members to come and discuss with government or appeal to court for redress rather than embarking on a strike at this festive period when people need money for their transactions?” the Governor queried.

Owelle Okorocha described their action as embarrassing to government but however, accepted the banks apology to government for their ill behavior especially as they promised to present their bank records to the Board of Internal Revenue for reconciliation and settlement of necessary debts.

The Governor also stated emphatically that the State government did not close down any bank, but rather, the court did, for non compliance to the request of the Board of Internal Revenue (BIR) about two years ago on payment of tax. He maintained that they must comply with the directive because banks in other States also remit tax to government and Imo will not be an exception.

Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Imo Bankers Forum, Mr. Ray Ahumibe of United Bank of Africa explained that other banks joined in the strike on sympathy grounds but regretted the consequences of their action.

He promised they will comply with the court order as only a branch of each of the eight affected banks remain closed pending when the tax issue is settled.

Briefing newsmen after the meeting, the Commissioner for Internally Generated Revenue and Pension Affairs, Hon. Nick Oparandudu said those banks that placed adverts in the papers must apologize for contempt of court.

However, he assured all that both government and affected banks have come to terms that as soon as the bank books are reconciled with the BIR, the due tax will be worked out and the necessary payments made.

Adding his voice, the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Muhammed Katsina said he led the bank representatives to the Governor so that issues could be settled for the good of all. He thanked the Governor for his magnanimity and fatherly consideration.


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