FIRS accuses states of not remitting N41bn tax
By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The National Economic Council (NEC) Thursday in Abuja resolved to constitute a committee to be headed by the Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to make fresh recommendations on how the Nigeria Police could be decentralised.
Briefing journalists at the end of the monthly National Economic Council (NEC) meeting in the Presidential Villa, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj-Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd), said decentralisation of the police would aid greater access to information unlike the current centralised system.
According to him, the move had become compelling in view of what he described as asymmetric threats to security in the country, pointing out that the situation has made it imperative for states to collaborate with security agencies in tackling security crises.
He said the volume of threats to security in Nigeria could not be easily overcome and hence, the necessity for collaboration between the states and federal governments in tackling the situation.
According to the NSA, the committee will have a representation from each of the six geo-political zones, adding that the move is one of the ways deciphered by the council to tackle the seeming asymmetric security challenges confronting the country.
Monguno said, “I gave a general overview of the current security situation in the country and all the trends that we are confronted with are becoming increasingly asymmetric in nature and l stressed upon the need to deal with these problems in a collective manner. It is true that it is the responsibility of security agencies to deal with these threats but the complexities of security in the 21st century was such that you need collective efforts in dealing with these issues.
“I emphasised to the council on the needs for the states to collaborate with and support the federal government in dealing with each individual threat. These threats differ from one zone to another. I briefed on behalf of the security agencies – both operational and intelligence. I gave a general overview of the security situation in the country, the current situation and the trends and also the challenges that we are confronted with.
“These threats are increasingly asymmetric in nature and I stressed upon the need to deal with these problems in a more collective manner. It is true that it is the responsibility of the security agencies to deal with these threats but the complexities of insecurity in the 21st century are such that you need a whole of government and a whole of society approach in dealing with these issues.
“I emphasized to the council the need for the states to collaborate with and support the federal government in dealing with each individual threat, and these threats differ from one zone to another, and find a way of linking with security agencies so that we can find a lasting solution.
“These things cannot be overcome within a short period. That is the hard truth. What we have decided to do is to work on certain methods. For example, the council decided that a committee would be set up with representation from each of the geo-political zone to be chaired by the IG so that we find ways of decentralising police operations so that there will be greater access to information and handling this situation will be easier rather than a centralised and cumbersome approach.”
The NSA also said the federal government was looking into other security challenges coming from outside the shores of this country.
According to him, such security problems are being collated by security agencies, adding that a team will subsequently be set up under the supervision of his office to deal with these threats.
On the issue of 17,000 missing Nigerians reported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), on August 2, the NSA said, “That report is being looked at by different agencies of government and we are awaiting their report before we can comment on that.”
Responding to a question on seeming lack of co-ordination among various security agencies, the NSA attributed such lack of co-ordination to a myriad of challenges, which he said was being looked into.
In his own briefing, the Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Abubakar Badaru, said the Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Babatunde Fowler, briefed the council on tax remission by states, reporting that states have hitherto failed to remit N41 billion value added tax (VAT).
According to him, the states have only remitted about N40 billion VAT and withholding tax to FIRS since January to July, adding that the FIRS boss told the council that fresh initiatives meant to enhance tax collection and remittance from the states to the federal government had been created.
Badaru said, “We had a briefing from the Chairman of FIRS. It dwelt on the two aspects of tax. One is value added tax that is being collected by states. He informed the states what the positions are, that there are outstanding VATs from the states to the tune of N41 billion that the states have to pay.
“FIRS also came up with new techniques/platform that will help in VAT/withholding tax collection. It is very important when talking of zero oil economy. Currently, a lot is going on, on how to remit tax. With the new initiative, tax can now be transferred to the federal government.
“He said so far, from January to date, about N40 billion has been remitted from the states. This is a significant figure from what happened last year. So the states are well notified and they are willing to pay.”