By James Itodo
Divergent views on constitutional mandates and extant laws, were subjects of debate on Tuesday between the Chairman of Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission ( RMAFC) Ellias Mbam and the Minister of Finance , Mrs Zainab Ahmed as well as the Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service ( FIRS), Dr Muhammad Nami.
The views among heads of the various agencies on powers for collection and monitoring revenues accruing into the Federation Account and the Consolidated Revenue Fund CRF), came to the fore in their separate submissions to the Senate Committee on Finance on the 2021 Finance Bill.
While the Chairman of RMAFC in his submissions, faulted section 68(2) of the proposed bill seeking 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 functions are not threatened by the proposed legislation.
Section 68(2) states that FIRS is the primary agency in charge of administration , assessment , collection , accounting and enforcement of taxes .
But in faulting the provisions, the RMAFC chairman said there is no objection to FIRS being the primary agency responsible for assessment , collection and accounting but objects to the exclusive power of enforcement.
In a counter submission, the FIRS Boss said RMAFC 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) among others, have concurrent mandate to monitor revenue.
What is clear and exclusive is that FIRS possess the mandate to access, collect and account for taxes accruing into the federation account.
FIRS position was also supported by the Minister of Finance and the Accountant General of the Federation.
Specifically the Minister in her submission said RMAFC 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 Olamilekan Adeola said the 2021 Finance has a total of 12 existing Acts for amendments.
Edited by Enuwa Ochai