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FIRS Cautions MDAs: Stop Contracting Tax Assessment, Collection, Enforcement To Consultants

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has cautioned Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government (MDAs) against the appointment of consultants and concessionaires to collect taxes due to the Federal Government or any of its agencies, as the FIRS is the sole agency of government saddled with the responsibility of tax collection.

In a Public Notice it issued Thursday, 22nd September, 2022, signed by its Executive Chairman, Muhammad Nami, the FIRS accused some MDAs of including functions of assessment, collection, accounting and enforcement of taxes and levies in their agreements with concessionaires and consultants.

“It has come to the notice of the Federal Inland Revenue Service that some Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government (MDAs) are appointing concessionaires or consultants for the assessment, collection, accounting or enforcement of taxes and levies due to the Federal Government or any of its agencies.

“Some MDAs include such functions in their agreements with concessionaires or consultants,” the Public Notice read.

Citing Section 68(2) of its Establishment Act, the FIRS highlighted that by law it is “the primary agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria responsible for the administration, assessment, collection, accounting and enforcement of taxes and levies due to the Federal Government or any of its agencies, except as may be authorised by the Minister responsible for Finance by regulation as approved by the National assembly”.

The Notice also stated that while Section 12(4) of the FIRS Establishment Act has provided that the Service may engage consultants, accountants or other agents to carry out certain functions on its behalf, the law has expressly prohibited the carrying out of assessing and collecting tax by consultants.

The law provides that: “The Service may appoint and employ such consultants, including tax consultants or accountants and agents to transact any business or to do any act required to be transacted or done in the execution of its functions under this act; provided that such consultants shall not carry out duties of assessing and collecting tax or routine responsibilities of tax officials”.

According to the Notice, going by “the above provisions of the law, it is clear that the duty of administration, assessment, collection, accounting or enforcement of taxes and levies due to the Federal Government or any of its agencies is that of the Federal Inland Revenue Service and its tax officials. No part of these responsibilities can be contracted to a private enterprise by any other MDA.”

The Executive Chairman FIRS further cautioned MDAs who were in the business of appointing consultants for tax assessment and collection that they were not just acting against the letters of the law, but were committing offences that were punishable under the FIRS Establishment Act as amended.

“Furthermore, appointment or authorisation of any person, other than by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, to assess, collect, enforce or account for taxes constitutes an offence under Section 68(3) of the FIRSEA. Such appointment or authorisation is punishable, upon conviction, with fine, imprisonment or both under Section 68(6) of the Act.

“In view of the foregoing, where any person, individual or corporate, has any information or assistance that may be of use to the Service for the purpose of administration, assessment, collection, accounting or enforcement of taxes and levies due to the Federal Government or any of its agencies or for the performance of its duties under the FIRSEA, such person should approach the Service directly with such useful information,” the Notice read.

 

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Why NLC, TUC Must Protect Nigeria’s Democracy – Obasa

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The survival of Nigeria’s democracy should be a key focus of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its affiliates, the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, has said.

Dr. Obasa gave the charge Thursday at the 2022 Independence Day Anniversary Lecture with the theme ‘Nigeria in search for an enduring political structure: imperative of structural reform’ held at the NLC Ogun State headquarters.

According to him, Nigeria can only advance positively if the various unions and individuals play roles to keep the country’s democracy thriving.

The Speaker, who was chairman of the event, said that the country is seen as practising democracy because there are legislative arms of government in place both at the national and sub-national levels.

He, however, lamented the attempts by some individuals in position of authority to ‘pocket’ these lawmaking arms of States citing how, in some instances, principal officers of Houses of Assembly are removed at the whims and caprices of single individuals in authority.

“It is hightime we all rose to protect Nigeria’s political institution, the parliament. We have seen cases where the civil society looked away while democracy faces danger from some individuals.

“We have seen cases where the parliament was closed and where a governor carried inauguration of legislature by midnight.

“When you have a legislature that is answerable to a single person, you can’t progress or meet collective goals or say we are practising democracy. We have heard of a state that already has four Speakers in less than four years.

“It is also surprising that even among the elite, you find that there are some people who do not know their representatives at the parliament. Yet, these parliamentarians make the laws that guide their activities and actions.

“As a union, our concern should not be about where we work, our salaries and welfare alone; we should also protect our institutions. I am not saying you should be partisan, but at least, play a role in guiding our democracy.

“In that way, it would be difficult for individuals to determine how the parliament, which is the true symbol of democracy, should operate,” Obasa said.

In his short remark, Rt. Hon. Olakunle Oluomo, Speaker of Ogun State House of Assembly, noted that Nigeria simply practises civil rule and not democracy.

“If you have a vibrant legislature, you have democracy,” he said.

In his address, Comrade Abinbola Bankole, chairman of the NLC in Ogun State, said though Nigeria faces many challenges, “as a labour movement, it is our considered opinion that blame-game shall take us nowhere as a people.”

He said if Nigeria must work, citizens must be interested in how their country is governed.

Guest lecturer at the event, Chief Mike Ozekhomhe (SAN), noted that the problems with Nigeria are fundamental and systemic. He suggested a new constitution for the country.

“No president who rules Nigeria will do well. Until we do serious structural adjustment or realignments, none of those who would rule Nigeria can make any spectacular difference,” Ozekhomhe said while expressing optimism that Nigeria will be successful again.

On his part, Nafiu Aiyedun, Ogun State Head of Service, who represented Governor Dapo Abiodun, promised that the government would continue to focus on the welfare of workers.

 

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Soludo reacts to killing of soldiers in Anambra, assures arrest of perpetrators

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Anambra State Governor, Prof. Charles Soludo has decried Wednesday’s deadly attack on personnel of the Nigerian Army.

JOMOGNEWS NIGERIA had reported how the so-called ‘Unknown Gunmen’ terrorising Anambra State and major parts of Nigeria’s southeast region attacked and killed five soldiers in Orumba South Local Government Area (LGA).

Among the causalities is a civilian.

According to the governor, from this point on, “these people must surely pay for this heinous and repulsive attack”.

“We condemn this wicked and cruel attack in the strongest terms. The perpetrators of this act must pay,” Prof. Soludo said, as quoted in a statement signed by Christian Aburime, his spokesman.

“We are not going to rest on our oars, including those people that attacked Senator Ifeanyi Ubah and the rest. There will be absolutely no hiding place for them,” Soludo added.

“Going forward, our actions will show, as these people must surely pay for this heinous and repulsive attack.”

 

 

 

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Over 20 Persons Burnt To Death As Explosion Rocks Kogi

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No fewer than 20 persons were burnt to death on a bridge at Maboro River, in Ankpa Local Government Area of Kogi State, on Wednesday in an explosion of a petrol-laden tanker.

The incident occurred when the tanker lost control and fell on the bridge at about 3.30pm on Wednesday.

Kogi State FRSC Sector Commander, Stephen Dawulung, who confirmed the incident, said the casualty could not be ascertained as at press time.

“‘My boys are there, putting the pieces together. We don’t know the number of dead yet. A tanker, two buses and two motorcycles were involved”, he said.

A resident of the area, Usman Ahmed, who witnessed the unfortunate incident, told Daily Trust that several persons were in the river when the tanker exploded.

He said, “Nobody knows the number of dead people now. Many People were in the river doing one thing or the other when the tanker lost control, fell and exploded on the bridge”.

 

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