Finance Bill: RMAFC, FIRS Disagree Over Power To Collect, Monitor FG’s Revenue
The Chairman, Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) Ellias Mbam yesterday disagreed with the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Dr Muhammad Nami over powers granted the latter to collect and monitor Federal Government revenues in the Finance Bill 2021.
While the Chairman of RMAFC in his submission, faulted Section 68(2) of the proposed Bill that gives exclusive power of revenue collection, monitoring and enforcement to FIRS, the Minister of Finance, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris and FIRS Chairman, said RMAFC’s functions are not threatened by the proposed legislation.
Their positions were contained in separate submissions made to the Senate Committee on Finance during a public hearing on the Finance Bill 2021 in Abuja.
Section 68 (2) of the Finance Bill 2021 states that FIRS is the primary agency in charge of administration, assessment, collection, accounting and enforcement of taxes.
The RMAFC boss, Mbam, said he has no objection to FIRS being the primary agency responsible for assessment, collection and accounting but objected to its exclusive power of enforcement.
“This word (enforcement), is infringing on the monitoring mandate of RMAFC in the area of enforcement and compliance.
“RMAFC shall not wait for FIRS as a primary agency to carry out enforcement of loss or unremitted government revenue before performing its monitoring functions or seek approval of the Minister of Finance before carrying out its constitutional mandate of enforcement.
“The exclusivity clause of enforcement to FIRS should not be granted and as such, be expunged,” Mbam said.
Nami said RMAFC’s mandate to monitor revenue is not exclusive as other relevant agencies or bodies like the Budget Office, Office of Accountant General of the Federation, Ministry of Finance, Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) etc, have concurrent mandate to monitor revenue.
He said: “What is clear and exclusive is that FIRS possess the mandate to assess, collect and account for taxes accruing into the federation account.
“Monitoring revenues is not the same as collecting and enforcing them in form of taxes.”
The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed and the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris supported FIRS’ position.
The Minister of Finance said RMAFC’s fundamental function is to monitor revenue accruing into the Federation Account and not even the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).
According to her, FIRS in the proposed bill, is empowered to sanction non-compliant banks that fail to deliver quarterly returns, investigate tax evasions and other related crimes and several others.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Solomon Adeola, said the 2021 Finance Bill is aimed at amending 12 existing Acts.
He listed the Acts to include Capital Gains Tax Act, Companies Income Tax Act,
Customs, Exercise Tarrif, etc (Consolation) Act, Federal Inland Revenue Service Establishment Act, Personal Income Tax and Stamp Duties Act.
Others are: Value Added Tax Act, Insurance Act, Nigerian Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act, National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure Act, Finance (Control and Management) Act and Fiscal Responsibility Act.