Nami distances FIRS from alleged fuel subsidy scam
The authorities of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) have distanced the agency from alleged scams in petrol subsidies running into trillions of naira in the country.
FIRS Executive Chairman, Mr Mohammed Nami who appeared before the Ibrahim Al-Mustapha Aliyu-led Adhoc Committee probing into the petroleum subsidy regime explained that the role of his outfit is purely the collection of revenue for the government and not keeping records of how the monies are expended.
Represented by FIRS Coordinating Director, Compliance Support Group, Dr. Dick Irri, he stated that information on subsidy payments and releases being sought by the lawmakers were not within his jurisdiction since it had nothing to do with tax collection.
Nami explained the role of the FIRS is confined to the assessment of taxpayers, collection of taxes, accounting for and enforcement of taxes that were due to the government of the Federation.
He noted: “The Service’s statutory functions remains that of assessment, collection, accounting, and enforcement of payment of taxes that are due to the Government of the Federation and any of its agencies.
“Taxes collected by the FIRS are usually shared amongst the three tiers of the government in line with the constitution of the country; and FIRS does not maintain records of what the funds are used for by the three tiers of government. The Service also does not have the power to ask for such records.
“The Service holds the Adhoc Committee on Petroleum Products subsidy Regime and other Committees of the National Assembly in high esteem and will always give necessary support to ensure the success of their oversight functions;
“All the tax-related information requested on your letter dated 1st July 2022 has been duly submitted;
“All the 16 items listed on your letter dated 5th August 2022 are not tax-related and also are not part of the responsibilities of the Service.”
The Special Adhoc Committee constituted in June 2022 with a mandate to investigate the Petroleum Products Subsidy Regime covering the periods from 2013-2021 had written to the FIRS requesting information on Subsidy Payment releases from the Consolidated Revenue Account, Subsidy claims, lodgment of FOREX into the Consolidated Revenue Account by the NNPC, among others.