Senate Faults CBN on Unremitted $3.3bn Foreign Tax

The Senate in session
  • Summons EFCC, army, police on 2015 unaudited accounts

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The Senate wednesday faulted the alleged non remittance of $3.3 billion from the $21.3 billion collected as foreign tax by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in 2015.

It has, therefore, queried the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to give explanations as to the unremitted $3.3billion from the $21.3billion collected by the FIRS as foreign tax in the year under review.

The Senate Committee on Public Accounts at its sitting revealed that the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation in an audit query revealed that while FIRS recorded $21.3 billion as total sum of foreign tax collected by it in 2015 and domiciled in the apex bank, CBN on the other hand, recorded $18billion.

On the strength of the query, the committee headed by Senator Mathew Urhoghide challenged the CBN management to explain the shortfalls which the apex bank’s Deputy Governor (Corporate Affairs), Mr. Edward Lamatek Adamu, couldn’t explain satisfactorily.

The CBN deputy governor in a move to convince the committee that the shortfall of $3.3billion was not missing or unremitted, said variations in exchange rate during the period resulted in variation of amounts recorded by FIRS and CBN.

The committee, however, ordered Adamu and other top officials of the bank to report back to it next Monday with required documents on the alleged variations in exchange rate.

Addressing journalists after the closed-door session, Uroghide said: “While the record of FIRS showed $21.3 billion, the record of CBN showed $18 billion.

“When CBN was asked about why the differences in the amount, it hinged its argument on exchange rate, upon which officials of the bank are directed to come up with supporting documents if they have.

“For instance, when the Auditor General of Federation raised an issue, we found out that FIRS said it collected $21 billion and then CBN is saying that from their own statement it is $18 billion.

“And the contention there is that CBN will say it is exchange rate, but we now asking that what was the exchange rate on their platform at that time for us to be able to know whether the $3.3 billion is in the account or whether CBN was surcharging FIRS, or whether FIRS was over estimating what they had. So we have asked them to go and come back with the documents.

“There were 13 queries raised concerning CBN. Today, they have explained some while some are yet to be sufficiently explained, particularly the $3.3billion difference from the $21.3billion foreign taxes remitted by FIRS,” the senator said.

Meanwhile, the committee will from June 9 hold a public hearing on some other highly rated government establishments like the Nigerian Army, the Police and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) over their alleged unaudited accounts since 2015.

The public hearing, which will end on July 21, will see ministers and heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) like Foreign Affairs, Power, Aviation, Niger Delta Affairs, Petroleum Resources and National Assembly to explain to the committee why their accounts remain unaudited since December 2015.