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Finance Minister, FIRS, RMAFC clash over revenue monitoring

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Finance Minister, FIRS, RMAFC clash over revenue monitoring

Muhammadu Buhari

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, the chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Dr. Muhammad Nami on one side and  the chairman of Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, Ellias Mbam on the other divide clashed over the monitoring of revenues being generated in the country.
The minister and heads of the various agencies had divergent opinions on the powers for collection and monitoring revenues accruing into the Federation Account and the Consolidated Revenue Fund, CRF came to the fore in their separate submissions to the Senate Committee on Finance on the 2021 Finance Bill.
While the chairman of RMAFC in his submissions, faulted section 68(2) of the proposed bill seeking exclusive power of revenue collection, monitoring and enforcement to FIRS, the Minister of Finance, Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris and FIRS chairman said RMAFC functions are not threatened by the proposed legislation.
Section 68(2) states that FIRS is the primary agency in charge of administration, assessment, collection, accounting and enforcement of taxes .
But in faulting the provisions, the RMAFC chairman said there is no objection to FIRS being the primary agency responsible for assessment , collection and accounting but objects to the exclusive power of enforcement.
“This word (enforcement), is infringing on the monitoring mandate of RMAFC in the area of enforcement and compliance.
“RMAFC shall not wait for FIRS as a primary agency to carry out enforcement of lost or unremitted government revenue before performing its monitoring functions or seek approval of the Minister of Finance before carrying out its constitutional mandate of enforcement.
“The exclusivity clause of enforcement to FIRS should not be granted and as such, be expunged,” he said.
In a counter submission, the FIRS boss said RMAFC mandate to monitor revenue is not exclusive as other relevant agencies or bodies like the Budget Office, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Ministry of Finance, Federation Account Allocation Committee, FAAC, etc have concurrent mandate to monitor revenue .
“What is clear and exclusive is that FIRS possess the mandate to access, collect and account for taxes accruing into the federation account .
“Monitoring revenues is not the same as collecting and enforcing them in form of taxes,” he said.
FIRS position was also supported by the Minister of Finance and the Accountant General of the Federation.
Specifically, the minister in her submission said RMAFC fundamental function is to monitor revenue accruing into the Federation Account and not even the Consolidated Revenue Fund, CRF.
According to her, FIRS in the proposed bill, is empowered to sanction non – compliant banks that fail to deliver quarterly returns, investigate tax evasions and other related crimes and several others.
Earlier in his opening remarks, chairman of the committee, Senator Olamilekan Adeola (APC Lagos West), said the 2021 finance has a total of  12 existing Acts for amendments .
They are Capital Gains Tax Act, Companies Income Tax Act, Customs, Exercise Tarrif, etc (Consolation) Act, Federal Revenue Service Establishment Act, Personal Income Tax and Stamp Duties Act
Others are Value Added Tax Act,
 Insurance Act, Nigerian Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act, National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure Act, Finance (Control and Management) Act and Fiscal Responsibility Act.
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Finance Minister, FIRS, RMAFC clash over revenue monitoring

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