By Folasade Folarin
The Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) on Wednesday said it had recovered N4.2 billion in remittances from collecting banks into the federation account.
Mr Shettima Gana, the commission’s acting Chairman, said this while inducting the lead consultants and other auditors on the verification and reconciliation of revenue collections and remittances by the collecting banks.
The collecting banks collect excise duties and taxes on behalf of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
He said that the money was recovered during the exercise that was carried out on banks’ collections of these taxes and duties between January 2008 and June 2012.
Gana said that there was about N20 billion that was still outstanding but had not been recovered from the banks.
He also said that the success recorded in the first phase of the exercise made the National Economic Council (NEC) approve a second phase which would cover July 2012 to December 2015.
Gana said that the commission had the constitutional mandate to monitor accruals into the Federation Account and disbursements of the revenue.
“Several years ago , the commission observed discrepancies regarding the excessive charges, Commission On Turnover (COT) for collections and delayed remittances made by banks on behalf of FIRS and NCS,’’ he said.
The chairman said that the second phase of the exercise would involve about 109 consultants and two lead consultants as against the 53 consultants and one lead consultant in the first phase.
“From the first exercise we realised that the work was quite enormous because the banks have branches all over the country collecting these revenues.
“It requires quite a number of man hours to go through all the records of the banks to check when the money came in and when it was remitted and the various charges that were charged. Now we want it done quickly and efficiently so as to get the funds into the federation account quickly,’’ he said.
The Chairman of the commission’s Non-oil committee, Mr Fagboyegun Ajibola, said that the exercise was important at this time to recoup all accruals that should be in the Federation Account.
“This is because the Federal Government cannot afford to allow any bank, individual or corporate body hold on unnecessarily to its money.
“We are expecting that as a result of this exercise, those responsible for monitoring these accounts will ensure that we do not continue having our monies lying in the banks un-remitted.
“It is not just to bring in these monies but to ensure that there is efficient and effective collection without any delayed or un-remitted funds of government.’’
Mr Olanrewaju Akinloye of Icon Festus and Co., one of the lead consultants, said that the major challenge encountered during the first phase of the exercise was the unwillingness of some banks to open up their books to the consultants.
He added that RMAFC had to call all the banks’ executives to tell them the importance of the exercise to the Federal Government.
He said that the banks that remained resisted the exercise had their cases transferred to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).