Drama as FIRS Faults N2.59tn Tax Credit Scheme for Road Construction, Says It’s Unlawful

•Urges FG to discontinue policy 

•NNPC explains $3.3bn loan secured for CBN

Sunday Aborisade in Abuja

The Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Dr. Zaccheus Adedeji, yesterday faulted the N2.59trillion Tax Credit Scheme introduced by former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in 2021.

The scheme was meant for road construction across the country.

He stated this when the executors of the Tax Credit Scheme, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) gave details of the $3.3 billion loan facility secured for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for stabilisation of Naira exchange rate.

He spoke when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Finance along with the Chief Financial Officer of NNPCL, Umoru Ajiya.

The FIRS Chairman was not impressed with the N2.59 trillion Tax Credit Scheme introduced through Executive Order 7 of 2021 by Muhammadu Buhari led government.

The Committee chaired by Senator Sani Musa, had invited the FIRS and the NNPCL management to shed more light on the implementation of the scheme especially the terrible state of the Federal Roads across the country.

The NNPCL Chief Financial Officer, in his presentation, raised the hope of the committee members that the scheme was being properly implemented.

He said it was helping the federal government fix dilapidated roads across the six geo political zones in the country with N664billion spent so far.

When asked to speak on the scheme, the FIRS boss condemned it, describing it as unlawful.

He urged the federal government to discontinue it.

He said, “The Mandate of FIRS lumped with execution of Tax Credit Schene for road construction, is to access, collect tax and remit it into the federation account and not to appropriate it for any purpose through executive order .

“It is not the duty of FIRS and NNPCL to be paying contractors. The Ministry of Works should be in line with its core mandate, be allowed to award road contracts and pay for them.

“The scheme to many people, serves as a faster way for road reconstruction or rehabilitation across the country, but we should stop increasing speed towards wrong direction .

“As a way of stopping the wrong approach, the FIRS and CBN are holding meeting with the Ministry of Works Friday this week, (tomorrow).

“At the meeting, we are going to take stock of what had been done through the scheme and thereafter we will toe the right path.

“We should in a nutshell, not continue in the wrong trajectory “, he said .

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Sani Musa, expressed satisfaction with the FIRS boss presentation.

He said relevant provisions of the 1999 constitution( as amended ) are against the  scheme.

Musa said this was because monies that the NNPC and FIRS were being made to spend on the roads through tax credit, were supposed to be remitted into the consolidated revenue fund.

” We are waiting for outcome of meeting of the three agencies involved in the scheme, before deciding on how to help the present government to correct mistakes of the past ‘, he said.

On the $3.3billion loan facility, the NNPCL informed the Committee members that it was secured to support CBN to suppress forex volatility.The agency said $2.2billion had already been secured for the apex bank while the balance of $1.05billion would be credited the apex bank before the end of the month.

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