House Asks FIRS to Refund N4.6bn Illegal Deduction to FCT-IRS

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Adedayo Akinwale ín Abuja

The House of Representatives has directed the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to refund the sum of N4.6 billion to FCT Internal Revenue Service (FCT-IRS), which was illegally deducted as tax between 2015 and 2019.

The Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Hon. Wole Oke, gave the directive after the consideration of a petition against FIRS, which was adopted by the House.

He said that it was wrong for the FIRS to take part of the money belonging to the FCT-IRS in breach of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by both parties.

The chairman stressed, “FIRS deducted four per cent of the total sum of N117 billion collected on behalf of FCT-IRS between 2015 and 2019 through the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), against the agreed two per cent as cost of collection in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by both parties.”

Oke noted that FCT-IRS is entitled to five per cent of the total tax revenue generated in accordance with the FCT-IRS establishment Act.

He stated: “That the Chairman, FCT-IRS, if you are still in need of the services of FIRS, due process should be followed and engage FIRS and pay them properly. Our ruling will be that the Chairman of the FIRS should refund the four per cent taxes collected due to the FCT-IRS.”

Responding to questions from the lawmakers, the Chairman of FIRS, Mr. Babatunde Fowler, said that FIRS took two per cent of total tax collected as cost of collection rendered to FCT-IRS. He explained that the agreement which started with four per cent was renegotiated to two per cent last year.

He stressed that FIRS is responsible for the payment of salaries of 170 staff deployed on secondment to FCT-IRS throughout the period under review, apart from the accommodation and other logistics service rendered to FCT-IRS.

According to him, “we support other states IRS but for FCT, we have given them buildings, logistics and staff, even this two per cent is not enough to cover the cost. We cannot continue to support them this way, I may be forced to pull out our all my staff and support which will have negative impact on revenue generation in the FCT.”