FAAC to probe N90bn revenue underpayment by FIRS
The Federation Account Allocation Committee has expressed its readiness to probe the N90bn allegedly underpaid into the Federation Account by the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
The Chairman, Commissioners’ Forum of FAAC, Mahmood Yunusa, said this in a chat with journalists in Abuja on Sunday.
He alleged that the amount, which the FIRS paid into the Federation Account in May, showed a decline of about N90bn, adding that the committee would engage the service to investigate the reasons for the underpayment.
Yunusa said, “If you look at the FAAC report, there was a sharp drop in FIRS’ May and June collections, but there was no opportunity for us to actually engage the FIRS for them to explain to us why there was a sharp drop.
“I can’t remember vividly but the drop was about N90bn. So, the FIRS also needs to tell us why the sharp drop.
“If they think they are not being sweated too, we will sweat them up because you cannot adopt a kind of armchair work in which you just sit in your office and what comes you take it and what doesn’t get to you, you don’t care to pursue it, no.”
He added, “At state level, we are very willing to cooperate with the FIRS when it comes to VAT (Value Added Tax) remittance, because we know as states that we even benefit more than the Federal Government when it comes to VAT.
“We are willing to work with FIRS to increase the generation of all the taxes that can be increased for the benefit of the entire country. It is not just the NNPC; if the Customs are not doing well, we will engage them. We have been asking this question, we have been engaging them.
“Every revenue generating agency has a target, and we will apply the necessary rules to ensure that we take value for why every revenue generating agency was established.”
On the revenue controversy between FAAC and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Yunusa said the committee was demanding an overhaul of the oil revenue collection system.
According to him, there is a need for the revenue collection process to be strengthened to avoid situations where states are short-changed.
He stated, “The process of strengthening the system will be to take the collection and remittance of royalty from the NNPC to the Department of Petroleum Resources, while the collection and remittance of Petroleum Profit Tax should also be returned to the FIRS in line with the law.
“This is part of the process that we are trying to strengthen and we are trying to adopt. It is there, it is part of the law under oil and gas, like in any other International Oil Company, that all royalties should be collected and remitted to the Federation Account by the DPR; it is the DPR’s responsibility.
“Before the DPR collects that royalty, it has to make sure that the actual amount that is supposed to be remitted is remitted. If it is underpaid, the DPR will be responsible for the shortfall and I know the DPR will not want to be responsible for a shortage that they are not even aware of.
“There should be a kind of check and balance. Had it been that we had this, this issue (underpayment) wouldn’t have cropped up. That is the system we are trying to strengthen and adopt.”