Fiscal Responsibility: Lawmakers query FIRS over unaudited accounts

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

It is an irony of life sort of. A government revenue-collection agency that, unapologetically, insists on getting certified true copies of registered companies’ annual accounts and reports at the end of each financial year before issuing Tax Clearance to them simply could not produce its own from 2014 to date when asked to do so.

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Nigerian House of Representatives has queried Alhaji Mohammed Nami, Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), over late and outright non-submission of the audited accounts of his agency.   ConsumerConnect gathered that PAC described the action as a gross misconduct which should not be tolerated.

However, Alhaji Nami who appeared before the Committee, chaired by Hon. Oluwole, Oke, pleaded for leniency over the development.

The FIRS Executive Chairman said he only assumed office December 2019.

At the resumed public hearing of PAC on refusal of Non-Treasury Funded and Partially Funded Agencies to render their Audited Accounts, covering 2014 till date to the Auditor-General of the Federation (AGF), Nami said he needed more time to study the activities of his Service.

Nevertheless, Hon. Oke and his members expressed surprise that FIRS did not have audited accounts.

The PAC Chairman said: “This is very strange; if the FIRS cannot produce an up-to-date audited accounts of its operations, how does it wants the Executive arm of the government to prepare  the Medium Time Expenditure Framework to the Legislature to determine the annual financial budget?

“Funny enough, the officials of the same Agency will be seen moving around to seal off premises of business outfits over non-payment of their taxes.

“We are aware that the Executive Chairman of the Agency assumed office in December last year, but that should not be an excuse for the Agency to have not up-to-date audited accounts for accountability.”

Upon the Committee’s discovery of the Service’s non-compliance with fiscal responsibility process, FIRS was consequently placed on a full-scale status enquiry to probe into its operations.

Similarly, the Committee also placed the Osun River Basin Development Authority, (ORBDA) on status enquiry, following alleged infractions discovered in the presentation of the Managing Director and his inability to provide any proof of rendition of the accounts of the Agency to the Auditor-General of the Federation.

Meanwhile, PAC of the House of Representatives has also given the Management of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) a last chance to appear before it, or be arrested and face criminal charges over a similar inquiry into the Organisation’s operations.

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