The executive chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami, has disclosed that the agency does not grant any tax waivers to any local or foreign investors, as the FIRS Act does not empower it to grant such tax breaks.
Mr Nami said this on Friday in Abuja when he appeared 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 Limited 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 Limited and OIS Indorama Eleme Port-Harcourt, started way back in 2015.
He further stated that the companies under consideration “have been variously granted pioneer status between December 15th, 1997 and 2016 for the Indorama Petrochemical Limited, and between 2017 and 2020 for the Indorama Fertilizer and Chemicals Limited respectively.
“Upon expiration of the pioneer period and conclusion of the post-pioneer audit, the Indorama Petrochemical Company Limited’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 said.
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 doordinating directors, directors and tax controllers as do other House Committees like the Committee on Finance, to enhance its investigation at any time.”
The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts had written a letter of invitation dated 27th May 2021 to the executive chairman of the FIRS to appear at its public hearing slated for 9 June 2021 on alleged revenue leakages involving the three foreign firms.
However, he 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 used the opportunity to call for a continuous cordial working relationship between the National Assembly and the FIRS “especially in this critical time when tax revenue has become crucial to the operations of the three tiers of government.”
He assured that the FIRS under his watch is very keen on collaborating with the members of the committee and other critical stakeholders in the National Assembly on the automatic exchange of information on tax evasion, tax avoidance and other related issues.