By Vivian Okejeme
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), yesterday, insisted that two oil companies, Midwestern Oil and Gas Company Ltd, and Suntrust Oil Company Nigeria Ltd, must not continue enjoying a 5-year tax relief.
The suit filed and dated 22 December 2015, by the two oil firms was marked FHC/ABJ/CS/364/2015.
FIRS is the 2nd respondent while the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council is the 1st respondent.
The suit was premised on Order 33 rules 1(1) and (2); and 3(1) and 5 of the Federal High Court, (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2009.
The applicants in the suit are seeking a declaration by way of judicial review, that the decision of the 1st respondent to vary the
5-year tax relief granted to them was “illegal, capricious, irregular, unfair, oppressive etc.
Furthermore, the firms are praying for an order setting aside the decision of the 1st respondent to vary the tax relief regime from 5 years to 3 years.
In addition, the applicants are seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents by themselves, their officers, agents, servants, privies or otherwise howsoever, from taking any steps or further steps or actions to enforce or give effect to the decision of the its respondent communicated in its two separate letters to them on January 26, 2015.
The two federal government agencies (the respondents) had on January 26, 2015 written to the two oil firms, adjusting the pioneer status conferred on them in respect of the Firms’ joint mineral oil exploration and production activities in the Umusadege Field covered by Oil Mining Lease (OML) 56 from 5 years to 3 years.
But in reaction to the suit, counsel to the FIRS, Collins Aimuan said the FG agency is objecting to the suit, insisting that the oil firms must pay tax to the Nigerian government.
The FIRS predicated it’s objection on the fact that the suit was filed out of time as required under the law.
More so, they are challenging the suit for being incompetent, lacking in merit and an abuse of process of the court.