Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State has lifted a state government’s embargo placed on three banks by the immediate past administration led by Ayodele Fayose.
It would be recalled that the Fayose-led administration had in May 2016 placed a ‘non-patronage’ ban on the three banks. The banks include Ecobank, GTbank and Zenith Bank Plc.
Fayose’s administration also forbade government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, as well as workers from transacting business with the affected banks.
In quashing the embargo, Governor Fayemi directed that all MDAs resume patronage of the banks immediately.
Consequently, the office of the State’s Accountant General had issued a memo to all heads of MDAs to effect the governor’s directive.
According to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Yinka Oyebode, the embargo was lifted in a bid to rekindle and strengthen the age-long relationship between the affected banks and the state government.
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The statement added that the government took the decision after a careful review of the developments that led to the purported embargo by the immediate past administration.
“The Fayemi administration is committed to the infrastructural and industrial development of the state. In achieving this, it will create a conducive atmosphere for business to thrive in the state by partnering with the private sector and encouraging private initiatives, among others.”
How it all began
The banks during Fayose’s tenure as the governor of the state had a series of issues, one of which was the closure of all the branches of GTBank and Ecobank in the State for non-remittance of withholding tax.
Armed with the court order to shut the premises of the banks located at Secretariat Road, Ado-Ekiti, men of the Board of Internal Revenue (BIR) stormed the banks and prevented staff and customers from entering the premises.
One of the officials of the banks said the affected banks had issues with the state government over their refusal to give money to government contractors handling rehabilitation of the Secretariat Road where they are located as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
An official of BIR who craved anonymity said the two banks were asked to submit documents relating to deductions on withholding tax on interests payable to customers.