The Senate has issued two queries to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) over its failure to remit N1.4 billion withholding Tax (WHT), and Valued Added Tax (VAT), which were deducted from 33 Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) in 2015. The queries were issued by the Committee on Public Accounts, headed by Senator Mathew Urhoghide to the Executive Chairman, FIRS, Mamman Nami after the 2015 report by the Auditor-General of the Federation revealed that N700.2 million WHT was deducted from 33 MDAs and yet to be remitted to FIRS.
The query read in part," N700.2 million Withholding Tax (WHT), which were deducted from 33 government MDAs, were not remitted to FIRS. This negates the provision of Financial Regulation 234 (III), which stipulates that officers who fail to provide for remit VAT and WHT due on vatable supplies and services shall be sanctioned under the applicable VAT Act No. 102 of 1993 which may include fines and/or imprisonment.
"The Executive Chairman has been requested that the unremitted WHT of N700.2 million be deducted at source from budgetary allocations of the affected MDAs in line with section 24 of FIRS Act of 2007 empowering the Accountant-General of the Federation to make such deduction to the service."
The second query read, "N708.5 million of Value Added Tax was deducted from 31 government MDAs but was not remitted to FIRS."
FIRS in response to the query said, "Efforts are still made by Service and Debt Management Office (DMO) to deduct at source from budgetary allocations of the affected MDAs in line with the provisions of section 24 of FIRS Act of 2007."
Meanwhile, the Senate committee is set to meet to deliberate on action to take in regards to the FIRS response as well as make recommendations to the Senate.