The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami, has disclosed that the Service did not grant any tax waivers to any local or foreign investors in the country as the FIRS Act did not empower it to grant such tax breaks.
Nami disclosed on Friday in Abuja during his appearance before the House of Representatives’ Public Accounts Committee investigating alleged tax waivers granted to three foreign firms operating in the country.
The firms are Indorama Petrochemical, Indorama Fertilizer and Petrochemical Ltd and OIS Indorama Eleme Port-Harcourt.
Nami said: “The FIRS does not have the power or responsibility of facilitating or implementing incentives to local investors or investors coming through the Foreign Direct Investment platform, which is the sole prerogative of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC)”.
Nami pointed out that: “The investigation of the three foreign firms, Indorama Petrochemical, Indorama Fertilizer and Petrochemical Ltd and OIS Indorama Eleme Port-Harcourt, started way back in 2015. The committee in charge of the investigation has consistently been furnished with all required documents by the FIRS.”
He further stated that the companies under consideration “have been variously granted pioneer status between December 15th, 1997 to 2016 for the Indorama Petrochemical Ltd and between 2017 – 2020 for the Indorama Fertilizer and Chemicals Ltd respectively”.
According to him: “Upon expiration of the pioneer period and conclusion of post pioneer Audit, the Indorama Petrochemical Ltd company’s tax file was returned to the Large Tax Office (LTO) Port Harcourt. Thus far, the company has filed its annual returns up to 31st December 2019 with relevant Self-Assessment and paid its attendant liabilities.”
He, therefore, pleaded with the Public Accounts Committee: “To always avail itself of the opportunity to work closely with the custodians of FIRS records, such as the Coordinating Directors, Directors and Tax Controllers as do other House Committees like the Committee on Finance, to enhance its investigation at any time.”
Recall that the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts had written a letter of invitation dated May 27, 2021 to the Executive Chairman of the FIRS to appear at its public hearing slated for June 9, 2021 on alleged revenue leakages involving the three foreign firms.
However, the FIRS Executive Chairman could not honour the Committee’s summons on that date due to other pressing engagements which included Board meetings.
Appearing in person on the rescheduled date, Nami noted with satisfaction the cordial relationship between the FIRS and the legislators since he assumed office in December 2019.
He seized the opportunity to reiterate that: “The mandate of the FIRS is to assess, collect and account for tax revenue.”
This mandate, he stressed, “is clear and unambiguous.”