As typical of a democratic dispensation, the Finance Bill 2021 transmitted by President Buhari to the National Assembly is currently going through legislative scrutiny and a few hours ago, news broke on a disagreement that emerged between the Revenue Mobilisation & Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) over Bill’s passage.
Going through the detail, Taxmobile.Online had discovered that the reason for the disagreement between the two federal agencies was over certain clauses regarded as unclear in the bill.
The RMAFC is at the forefront of pointing out provisions like Section 68 (1-6) of the FIRS Establishment Act and Section 4(1-3) of the Finance (Control and Management Act which was regarded as an infringement on the constitutional mandate of monitoring accrual into the Federation Account as well as revenue payable into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), the Board of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA), the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF and other revenue-generating agencies.
Also the commission via its Chairman, Public Affairs and Communications Committee, Dr. Rilwan Hussein Abarshi Identified as controversial, the tendency of the Finance Bill to foreclose any form of checks and balances as envisaged by the 1999 constitution, whilst exposing government revenues to leakages as all under remittances or unremitted funds will not be checked by government agencies.
Still reeling out the weak points of the Bill, RMAFC highlights that the executive document is implemented as it is, there is a huge tendency for inter-agency conflicts, unnecessary litigation, and a disservice to the nation just as the Commission will not be able to pay the engaged consultants after recovery with litigation following.
Still, on why both agencies are at loggerheads, the RMAFC also predicted the loss of jobs with its passage as job cut looms where employees and over 500 consultants will be thrown into the labour market.
What RMAFC is saying the bill proposes to relieve it from some of its responsibilities:
‘’With so many employees and over 500 consultants on the wage bill of the Commission for the third phase of the project which covers MDA’s and private companies; the monitoring duties of Commission’s staff, livelihoods of these Nigerians hang on the balance if this ludicrous bill sees the light of day,’’