BREAKING - Nigeria loses N17B to tax evasion by agencies – FIRS
The Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, has alleged that a sum of N17,690, 341, 565 is presently being owed the Nigerian government in the form of tax evasion by some defaulting companies whose addresses could no longer be traced.
However, irked by the revelation, the Senate has ordered the Executive Chairman of FIRS, Muhammad Mamman Nami, to go after the defaulting agencies to recover the whooping amount and remit same into Consolidated Revenue Fund, CRF within 90 days.
The upper legislative chamber, through its Committee on Public Accounts, also directed FIRS to sanction its officers involved in alleged overlapping contracts and splitting between 2014 and 2015 and remit N32, 449, 743.61 into government coffers within the ultimatum with evidence of compliance submitted to the Auditor General for the Federation, AuGF and the committee.
The 2015 audit report from the Office of Auditor General for the Federation, OAuGF, had revealed that the management of FIRS owed up to N17, 690, 341, 565 tax evasion by the companies.
These were parts of the fallouts of the queries issued against FIRS and 104 other public agencies by the OAuGF in the 2015 audit report, sustained and adopted by the Senate.
The Auditor General in the query on the N17billion unrecovered taxes by FIRS said: “The Federal Inland Revenue Service failed to recover the total sum of N17, 690,341,565.00billion from different companies in the year under review.
"The unrecovered taxes are made up of Value Added Tax (VAT), Company Income Tax (CIT), Withholding Tax (WHT), Education Tax (EDT) and NITDEF.
“Though the FIRS in its response to the query said it had recovered N2,879,152, 077.76billion but actual receipted recoveries made by FIRS was N273, 038,474.74million, leaving a balance of N17,417,303,090.90billion to be recovered.
“Several companies were also discovered to have defaulted in filing their annual returns, many of which FIRS said could not be located due to change of addresses.”
The Senate in adopting the report directed the Executive Chairman of FIRS to recover the money and pay to the Consolidated Revenue Fund just as it ordered for blacklisting of all companies that failed to file their annual returns.
It added that “evidence of compliance should be forwarded to the Public Accounts Committee”
The upper legislative chamber was tougher in its resolutions on alleged contract overlapping and splitting by some officers of the revenue generating agency by calling for their identification and sanctioning.
The query reads: “A contract for the sum of N32, 667,600.00million awarded by FIRS, was split and distributed to four companies , whose submissions were earlier rejected , mainly to accommodate the approval ceiling of the chairman , contrary to Financial Regulations 2921.
“The Audit also revealed that a total of N32, 449,743,61million contracts under recurrent expenditure were awarded by the agency in the 2014 financial year and paid for in the month of January 2015, contrary to financial regulation 414(b)”.
Angered by the infraction, the Senate in its adoption of the report directed FIRS to pay the money back into government coffers and submit evidence of compliance to the OAuGF and its Committee on Public Accounts.
According to the Senate’s resolutions on the N17billion, the FIRS unrecovered taxes and N32million Contracts splitting and overlapping; has about 60 days left to make the required recoveries and remittances into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
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