House Summons FIRS Boss over Issuance of Tax Clearance to Company

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By Udora Orizu

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Account yesterday summoned the Director-General of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami, to explain tax clearance issued to a United States company, Proctor and Gamble (P&G), operating in Nigeria without paying tax to the federal government.

The invitation was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion by Hon. Zakaria Nyampa at an investigative hearing in Abuja.

The committee is investigating revenue remittances of the company between 2016 and 2018 based on a query raised by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF).

Moving the motion, Nyampa said the years under review, the turnover of P&G was N42 billion, N41 billion and N48 billion respectively, while its profit is nil.

He said there was need for FIRS to come and authenticate the clearance certificates paraded by P&G, and explain reasons for the issuance.

The lawmaker said: “Chairman please permit me to take this as a motion, some of these years under review-2017, 2016, and 2018-where their turnover was N42 billion, N41 billion and N48 billion and their profit were nil; FIRS went ahead to give them tax clearance, I want to move a motion that we invite FIRS to authenticate these certificates. And what are their financial returns, the things they find that FIRS was convinced that these people should not pay tax for those years under review, I so move the motion Mr. Chairman.’’

In his ruling, the Chairman of the committee, Hon. Wole Oke, while directing the Clerk of the House to ensure compliance, said issuance of tax clearance certificate does not always depend on payment of taxes.

He also said there was need to look into the import duty documents of P&G, adding that the company imported equipment worth N6.4 billion in 2017.

The lawmaker said: “If you look at the acceptance given to you, which was dated March 6, 2017, your foreign content value was N6.4 billion for machinery and equipment. We need to look at their asset register in their versions audited account and their value on this certificate of acceptance along with their import duty paid on the equipment imported worth N6.4 billion. The document you need to give us now is your import duty on the plant equipment and machinery.

“On your taxes, we will call FIRS to come and defend their decision to giv