MDAs in trouble with Reps over tax indebtedness of N5.2trn 

Elizabeth AtimeMarch 8, 20244 min

Tax is a veritable tool used by governments to regulate economic and commercial activities and ensure the availability of funds for sustainable national development.

One of the many matters that seem to be deliberated upon oftentimes by the National Assembly is non-remittance and under-remittance of funds meant as revenue generation for the national purse.

The fact that most companies including oil firms are indebted to the federal government by way of non-remittance of tax running into trillions of naira which could be used to transform the economy especially since Nigerians are going through some hardship today. 

Deliberating on one of such matters in the House of Representatives on Thursday, Rep. Esosa Iyawe (LP, Edo) brought a motion titled “Alleged Non–Remittance and Under–Remittance of Tax by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of Government, Oil Companies and Other Organisations

He noted that taxation is a veritable tool used by governments to regulate economic and commercial activities and ensure the availability of funds for sustainable national development.

He further explained that the Federal Inland Revenue Service Act, of 2004 established the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for the core purpose of assessing, collecting, remitting and accounting for the Federation’s taxes.

He however expressed concern that “in 2021, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) revealed that the sum of (N17, 690,341,565) seventeen billion, six hundred and ninety million, three hundred and forty-one thousand, five hundred and sixty-five Naira, was owed in tax by some Companies, whose addresses were untraced till date, but no action was taken to locate or recover the funds.

He also noted that “the audit reports from 2015 to 2019 revealed government agencies owing hundreds of billions in FIRS taxes comprising underpayments and under-recoveries and over 5,000 Companies and Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government owing (N5.2 Trillion) (five trillion, two hundred billion, Naira in withholding taxes.

As he also lamented that under-remittance and non-remittance of tax deprive the Federal Government of much-needed funds to drive its policies for national development, and if the situation is not urgently addressed, the effect could be crippling on the country’s already dwindling economy.

According to him, “the small small-scale businesses in Nigeria are frustrated by multiple taxations by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, States and Local Government Authorities, multinational Companies and other corporate organisations are getting the kid-glove treatment”

Ruling on the matter, the House resolved to urge the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to, as a matter of urgency, embark on immediate recovery of all taxes owed the Federal Government by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), oil companies, as well as other corporate organisations and individuals.

It also mandated the Committees on Public Accounts and Finance to investigate the non-compliance on tax remittance by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of Government, Oil Companies and other organisations, to ensure that all debts in taxes owed the Federal Government are duly recovered, and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.

Elizabeth Atime

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