Commission recovers, remits N49b tax money

The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) yesterday said it had recovered and remitted into the Federation Account N48.7 billion collected as taxes on behalf of the Federal Government by deposit money banks (DMBs) but yet withheld by the financial institutions.

A top director in the commission, who craved anonymity, said the affected organisations had been reported to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and regulators for disciplinary action though doubted if any of the DMBs had been sanctioned. He said: “When we began the verification exercise, they were not cooperating until we invited the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). We reported the financial malpractices to the CBN. But I am not sure any punitive action was taken, because as we speak, we are embarking on another exercise as there are signs that the banks are still neck-deep in the malfeasances.”

Confirming the development in a statement RMAFC’s Head of Information, Ibrahim Mohammed, stated: “Thus far, the sum of N48.7 billion has already been recovered and remitted into the Federation Account while the remaining balance of N9.07 billion, which relates to withholding tax on dividend only, has been duly released to the benefitting state boards of internal revenue (SBIRs).”He recalled that an earlier exercise covering January 2008 to June 2012 had also led to the recovery of N4.2 billion from the banks, promising that more retrievals would be made.

Buoyed by the success story, the commission, following the approval of the National Economic Council (NEC), launched the second phase of the project to review activities between July 2012 and December 2015, leading to the indictment of the DMBs which allegedly failed to remit N57.7 billion tax collection into government coffer.

Owing to the disturbing development, the fiscal commission has insisted that its ongoing monitoring and verification campaign of collections by the banks appointed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) was in order and would remain periodic, as it falls within its mandate enshrined in Section 6(1) of the RMAFC Act 2004.

The provision empowers the commission to, among others, monitor the accruals to and disbursements of revenue from the Federation Account. Mohammed explained that his organisation was not a tax authority but a revenue watchdog that monitors collections by revenue-generating entities like the FIRS, Customs, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and others that remit directly into the Federation Account.

The revenue streams that accrue into the public purse under the watch of the RMAFC include taxes (withholding and VAT), royalties, signature bonuses, duties and tariffs. “The clarification became necessary following media reports that challenged the legality of the exercise by vested interest. It is worth clarifying that RMAFC does not deal with individual tax payers directly but monitors collections by collaborating with sister agencies like the CBN, NNPC, DPR, Customs, FIRS to ascertain how much was actually collected and remitted into the Federation Account so as to minimise revenue leakages,” he added.

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