23 April 2019

Nigeria: Stop Dealing With Consultants On Collections, Remittances, Revenue Workers Warn Banks

Abuja and Lagos — Protesting workers in the employ of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) have warned commercial banks to desist from dealing with consultants on issues concerning revenue collections and remittances by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

Under the aegis of the Nigeria Civil Service Union (NLC) and Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (TUC), the aggrieved employees at the weekend also put commercial banks nationwide "on alert not to entertain any consultants or groups on behalf of the commission as their (commercial banks) activities at the moment is considered illegal."

Addressing newsmen in Abuja, chairman of the placard-carrying workers, Comrade Amanabo Josiah, disclosed that RMAFC was set to probe 22 banks over sundry misdemeanours, including stamp duty collections, which the financial institutions allegedly failed to remit to the Federal Government despite an approval from the National Economic Council (NEC).

He noted that the council recently requested the commission and not consultants to probe banks, but surprisingly, companies were reportedly having a field day within the premises of the RMAFC with their proposals.

Specifically, Josiah said upon NEC's approval for the commission to verify and reconcile revenue collections and remittances by the FIRS and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) from July 1, 2012 to December 31, 2015, the RMAFC "speedily engaged the services of over 100 consultants with a mandate of completing the assignment within six months with effect from November 1, 2016."

The chairman, who sought the urgent intervention of the presidency and the National Assembly to enable the commission perform its statutory role, further expressed dismay that the Acting Chairman, Shettima Umar Abagana, was yet to intimate the management team on the modalities to prosecute the assignment given to the agency three weeks after NEC's approval.

Decrying the "questionable remittances and workers' predicament under the current RMAFC leadership", Josiah regretted that over 2000 staff had allegedly been rendered redundant due to the engagement of the consultants.

He said: "The staff have noticed with dismay the undue interference with the activities of the commission ranging from the appointment of consultants to carry out functions employees are well capable to handle. As it stands today, on the payroll of the commission it has professional accountants, economists, statisticians, forensic auditors to name, but a few."

The RMAFC is one of the 14 executive bodies established by Section 153 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to monitor accruals to and disbursements from the Federation Account.

Meanwhile, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) yesterday insisted that some financial institutions were engaging in unethical conducts by opening accounts for "criminals."

Its chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, said the banks also employ innuendos that lure criminal customers.

Owasanoye spoke while receiving the management of the Bank of Industry (BOI) at the commission's headquarters in Abuja.

In a statement by the spokesperson of the commission, Rasheedat Okoduwa, he expressed concerns at "the complicity of a few of Nigeria's financial services industry companies in the ruination of the country."

Leader of the team and BOI Managing Director, Olukayode Pitan, said they visited to intimate the commission of their activities and operations.

Besides, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) has granted N58 billion loans to 23,600 beneficiaries to address the housing deficits in the country. The facilities cover April 2017 to March 2019.

A breakdown shows that National Housing Fund (NHF) mortgage loans of N22.3 billion went to 3,171 workers; N16.9 billion home renovation facilities for 20,429; estate development grants of N13.6 billion were disbursed in addition to a cooperative development loans of N2.7 billion and a ministerial pilot housing scheme project valued at N2.5 billion.

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