As the people of Oyo Town and its neighbouring communities get set for the grand finale of the 2021 World Sango Festival, about 10 hotel facilities have been sealed by the state government.
The News Agency of Nigeria Correspondents who went round some hotels in the town on Thursday gathered that the facilities were sealed on Wednesday by the enforcement team of the state Board of Internal Revenue over non-payment taxes.
NAN reports that this action had affected patronage of hotel facilities by visitors, who were in the town for the celebration of the ongoing World Sango Festival.
It was gathered that the enforcement team had no option than to seal the affected facilities due to the alleged inability of their operators to pay the mandatory tax after they had been severed notices.
At Labamba Hotel Limited, Oyo, one of affected hotels, its main gate was chained and locked by the revenue enforcement team since Wednesday.
When contacted, Adegoke Ogunluyi, the Managing Director of Labamba Hotel, said the hotel was sealed on Wednesday over tax issue.
According to him, the Oyo State Government is all over the place locking down hotels as a result of revenue drive.
Ogunluyi said: “A lot of hotels experienced very poor patronage for over six months last year.
“We didn’t record one patronage.
“We locked down the whole place.
“Salaries were not paid and many of our workers had to leave because there was no money for them to feed.
“It was so difficult.
“For us to start getting back, this is where we found ourselves.
“It is a difficult period.
“You cannot compare hotels facilities in the capital cities like Lagos and Ibadan, where they have money, with rural towns like Oyo to drive revenue.
“It is not balanced.
“There should be level playing field for hotel operators to operate.”
Ogunluyi said the revenue board should have embraced dialogue, adding: “Locking our hotels and facilities is never the solution.
“We should engage and dialogue.”
Reacting, an official of the state Board of Internal Revenue, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed the sealing of the hotels, which he said were not less than 10 in Oyo Town.
According to the official, this is due to the inability of the affected hotel operators to pay their taxes in spite of our notices.
He said: “We are after all tax defaulters.
“We had earlier given them adequate notices before embarking on the enforcement.
“We normally issue 14 days notice in the first instance, then serve them another seven days notice and after the expiration, we give them final notice of three days to pay.
“Even after the expiration of the notice, we still give them more time, but after we have realised that they are not willing to pay, we then go after them for enforcement.
“It is not only in Oyo Town that we are carrying out the enforcement.
“We are in other towns too.
“Also, we are not only after hotels, but all institutions and organisations that default in tax payment.
“Currently, we carry out enforcement in companies, hotels, hospitals and schools.”