House Summons FCT Minister for Breach of Revenue Collection Laws

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  • C’ttee invites Kachikwu over NNPC’s non-compliance with tax returns
  • To probe misappropriation of pension funds by PTAD

Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The House of Representatives has summoned the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr. Muhammed Bello, over the breach of revenue collection laws of the FCT.

The minister, the House at plenary yesterday noted, had signed an agreement with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to collect taxes on behalf of the FCT, despite the Act authorising the establishment of the Inland Revenue service to collect all forms of taxes and levies for the FCT.

Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas (Adamawa APC) in a motion sponsored as a matter of urgent public importance, recalled that the National Assembly passed the bill to establish the service during the sixth assembly.

The bill received the assent of then President Goodluck Jonathan in February 2015.
Namdas urged the House to mandate the minister to explain why he will not reverse the agreement with the FIRS, which is a clear breach of the law.

The minister is expected to appear before the Committees on FCT and Finance.

Arguing in favour of the motion, Hon. Oluwole Oke (Osun PDP) said the status of the FCT as equivalent to a state is not in doubt.

He therefore queried why the minister would not take advantage of the FCT inland revenue service to bring in more tax payers into the net.

Presiding, the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, said the allegation is a serious one against the minister.

“As members of the parliament, it is our responsibility to make sure the Executive operates within the law,” Dogara said.

Meanwhile the House ad hoc committee investigating accounting procedures of the FIRS has invited the Minister of State for petroleum, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, over non compliance with the issue of tax returns by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The Chairman of the committee, Hon. Michael Eyong Okon, at the continuation of the public hearing yesterday said the minister is expected to appear next week.

The decision was taken after the Chairman of the FIRS, Mr. Babatunde Fowler, told the committee that oil trading businesses have not been remitting taxes in over a decade.
He however explained that non compliance by the NNPC is due to ongoing audit exercises which are yet to be resolved.

The Deputy Superintendent of Customs, Mr. DB Oruagu, told the committee that the service acted on a presidential directive granting import tax waivers on petroleum products.
He made this clarification in response to questions from the committee as to whether the indiscriminate granting of waivers can be partially blamed for the cash crunch being experienced in the country.

“Based on the mandate given to customs to scrutinise all import making entries into Nigeria, and as far as customs is concerned, all petroleum products imported into this country is duty free. We do not have authorisation to collect duty on them,”,he said.

Meanwhile, the House also at plenary mandated its Committee on Pension to investigate the activities of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD).

The management of the PTAD is currently embroiled in a scandal bordering on misappropriation of pension funds, abuse of office, non payment of 33 per cent harmonised arrears, under payment/non payment of monthly pensions, unjustified salaries and allowances of staff.

The House resolution followed a motion sponsored by Hon. Sergius Ogun (Edo PDP) who also called for the audit of pension offices existing before the Pension Reform Act, 2014.