GTBank shut in Akwa Ibom over unpaid taxes

The two branches of the Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, have been closed for about three days now after the state government shut them over “unpaid N184 million taxes”.

Access to the bank premises and facilities has been restricted through a court order obtained by the Akwa Ibom internal revenue service.

An official of the revenue agency, Leo Umanah, said GTBank failed to settle its outstanding liabilities to the Akwa Ibom government, despite a warning issued to it since February.

Unaware of the development, customers visiting the bank branches were politely turned back at the gate by the bank security officials.

“Please, come back tomorrow, we’ll open for business,” one of the security officials told a customer who was eager to deposit some money on Thursday.

The bank’s automated teller machines in the Uyo were not dispensing cash as of Thursday, some of the customers told PREMIUM TIMES.

One customer said he had to use a local money transfer agent to send cash to a friend who is participating in the National Youth Service Corps programme in another state. “I paid N300 for them to transfer N10,000 to the person,” he said.

Oyinade Adegite, a spokesperson for GTBank, told PREMIUM TIMES, Thursday evening that the matter had been resolved and that the bank would reopen by Monday.

“It was just a reconciliation, not an outstanding obligation,” Mr Adegite said.

GTBank, one of the foremost commercial banks in Nigeria, recorded N167.4 Billion profit before tax in the third quarter of2020.

The drop in oil prices and the shrinking Nigerian economy has forced the government at various states to turn to the private sector to shore up their internally generated revenue.

The Akwa Ibom government last year sealed off the premises of Ecobank and Union Bank over unpaid taxes.

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