Finance Minister, RMAFC disagree over role in revenue collection
December 14, 2021
By Obas Esiedesa
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Tuesday sharply disagreed with the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) over the Commission’s role in revenue collection for the Federation with the Minister insisting that the Commission has no constitutional mandate to collect revenue for the Federation.
Mrs. Ahmed who disclosed this during the Public Hearing on the Finance Bill 2021 before the Senate Committees on Finance, Custom, Excise & Tariff, and Trade and Investment, said the RMAFC responsibility was restricted to the monitoring of accruals and disbursements of revenue from the Federation Account.
A statement by the Federal Ministry of Finance in Abuja said the Minister, who was responding to observations and recommendations to the Finance Bill by the RMFAC, noted that the commission had no role in revenue collection.
The RMFAC had faulted a part of the amendment bill that stated the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) shall be the primary agency of the Federal Government responsible for the administration, assessment, collection, accounting and enforcement of taxes and levies due to the Federation and the Federal Government or any of its agencies.
But the Minister noted that “The functions of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission is provided under Paragraph 32 (a-e) of Part 1 to the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (of the Federal Republic of Nigeria).
“It is limited to the monitoring of the accruals to and disbursement of revenue from the Federation Account. The commission is also empowered to advise the Federal and State Governments on fiscal efficiency.
“There is no constitutional role provided to the RMAFC to collect revenues. We are only further empowering the FIRS to do what the law has mandated it to do, its constitutional role,” she added.
Her position was backed by the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami who stated that while in fact the mandate of the RMAFC was not exclusive, as the Budget Office, the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, the Auditor General, among others have concurrent mandates to monitor, account for and audit revenues, only the FIRS has a sole mandate to collect and administer tax in Nigeria.
Section 162(1) of 1999 constitution, suggests that the Federal Government is to maintain the Federal Account but that account is to be funded by four agencies of Government. These are: the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the Nigeria Custom, the Department of Petroleum Resources and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation.
“What the Federal Executive Council and RMAFC do with the money that four of us collect is not an issue for us because we do not have responsibility to directly monitor the disbursement of what we have collected”, he added.
On his part, the Chairman of the Commission, Engineer Elias Mbam had raised objections to provisions of the Finance Bill 2021, stated that the provisions “will infringe on the Commission’s constitutional mandate of monitoring accruals to and disbursement of revenue from the Federation Account as well as revenue payable into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.”
He further added that the amendment would “foreclose or prevent RMAFC from monitoring tax revenue from FIRS.”
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