Reps demand MTN tax collection, remittance records

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The House of Representatives has asked telecommunication giant, MTN Nigeria, to tender all its financial records to confirm if the taxes the firm collected on behalf of the Federal Government were duly remitted.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Mr James Faleke, made the demand at an investigative hearing on remittances to the Consolidated Revenue Fund in Abuja on Wednesday.

A team of the company’s management led by its Head of Finance, Olajide Yesufu, had appeared before the committee.

Yesufu, who presented the financial statements and other documents in three volumes to the panel, said MTN had been remitting revenues due to the government over the years.

He also noted that the company collects Value Added Tax and stamp duties on behalf of the federal and state governments, which were remitted through the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

The MTN official further said   the records submitted to the committee had many accounting technicalities which had to be broken down and explained.

He promised to provide all the details and other documents to the committee when next they appear.

Faleke, however, emphasised the need to harness all government revenue sources to enable the Federal Government finance the 2020 budget.

He said that the committee would not relent until all revenue due to the common purse was remitted.

Faleke said, “We want you (MTN) to produce your quarterly returns on operation level paid to Nigerian Communications Commission supported with management account. Produce computation schedules and ledger and any other accounting books for post pioneer periods.

“We want details of fix asset register of the company, which must reflect evidence originating records and distinction should be made between those acquired locally and those imported for the purpose of interfacing with Nigeria Customs Service and Federal Inland Revenue Service.”

Faleke added that MTN should provide a comprehensive list of imported equipment, schedule of dividend distribution, with copies of all dividend warrants from inception to December 2019.

The committee also requested for copies of pioneer audited accounts from inception to December 2019, including annual tax returns and capital allowance computations supported with annual income tax certificate from 2007 to 2019.

MTN is also required to provide soft copies of annual ledger for all ledger accounts which indicate turnover and expenditures.

The committee also demanded soft copies of withholding taxes and withholding remittances, as well as soft copies of all bank statements in naira and dollars.

Faleke said the documents would enable the committee detect if MTN was actually paying the right taxes or not.

Meanwhile, the committee also threatened to order the Federal Ministry of Finance to deduct from source billions of naira from the allocations of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board.

Faleke, who picked holes in the presentations by Mr Muftahu Bello, who represented the Registrar of JAMB, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, said the examination body did not make proper remittances between 2011 and 2015.

He said records before the committee showed that the board failed to remit anything during the period, claiming that it ran at a loss.

The committee asked how JAMB ran its operations within the period, if it was truly running at a loss.

Bello, however, stated that when the current JAMB management came on board, it started remitting funds without defaulting.

According to him, the examination body even overpaid the amount due in 2017 by over N1bn.

However, the committee resolved to place JAMB on status enquiry to ascertain the billions it owed the Federal Government from 2011 to 2015.

According to the lawmakers, Nigerians need to know what happened to the arrears before 2016 when JAMB began to remit its revenues accordingly.

Source: PUNCH.

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