Reps tackle financial institutions over alleged $30b forex revenue leakages
The House of Representatives committee on finance is beaming its searchlights on financial institutions in the country over alleged leakages in foreign exchange revenue to the tune of over N30 billion.
Yesterday, the James Faleke-led members of the committee quizzed officials of Citibank Plc over the alleged infraction, which bothers on non-remittance of collections from Value Added Tax (VAT) and withholding tax.
Among alleged infractions leveled against Citibank by the committee were outstanding VAT collectibles on known Form A bank transfers by customers ($463, 778, 150), foreign exchange leakage infractions on form A transactions filed with CBN as taxation services but not traced to the Federal Inland Revenue Service collection platforms ($171, 256, 297).
Citibank Executive Director Operations and Technology, Ngozi Omoke-Enyi, however, absolved her outfit of any blame on the basis that it acted within the confines of the foreign exchange monitoring and miscellaneous provision regulations.
She insisted that a lot of transactions that were documented or mentioned do not attract withholding tax or VAT.
She added: “It is in the light of this that we have reviewed all the allegations and the transactions mentioned in the report sent to us and we want to affirm again that we were not in any way in contravention of any of the guidelines in the Act or in the Foreign exchange manual.”
The alleged infraction includes foreign exchange inflow from capital importation yet to be accounted for in the foreign exchange sales voucher ($17, 655, 410, 376), form A transfers for loan repayment and interest with no evidence of capital importation and payment of withholding tax on interest ($210, 013, 266), capital importation on loans with no evidence of principal repayment and interest payment ($1, 072, 868, 110), capital importation on equity with no evidence of dividend payment and capital repatriation ($ 1,134, 835, 320).
The committee pointed at dividend transfers in excess of capital importation on equity without payment of withholding tax ($3, 027, 298, 192), transfers for dividend repatriations with no evidence of capital importation, either foreign equity and payment of withholding tax ($305, 725, 840) and foreign transfers for principal loan repayment and interest payment in excess of capital importation loan without payment of withholding tax on interest in ($110, 635, 050).
It also referred to foreign exchange on Form A transfer payment filed with the committee but not traced to CBN returns without payment of taxes ($510, 816, 573), foreign transfer payment by customers to other bank accounts without Form A documentation ($30, 720, 856, 807) and foreign exchange purchased from oil export process yet to be accounted for in the foreign sales voucher ($132, 878, 000).