The mandate of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) spelled out in the FIRS Act does not cover granting waivers and tax breaks to local or foreign investors in the country, its Chairman, Muhammad Nami, has said.
Nami spoke on Friday in Abuja during his appearance 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.
“The FIRS does not have the power or responsibility of facilitating or implementing incentives for local investors or investors coming through the Foreign Direct Investment platform, which is the sole prerogative of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC),” Nami said.
Giving more clarification to the issue, the FIRS Chairman said since the investigation of the three companies began in 2015, all details and documents about them have always been made available by the FIRS.
He confirmed that the companies were at various times granted pioneer status incentive by the government.
Pioneer status is a special in incentives by way of tax waivers are granted by the government to investors encourage them to venture into deploying their resources into difficult and risky terrains od the economy.
Between December 15, 1997 and 2016, Nami said such incentive was granted Indorama Petrochemical Limited, while a similar waiver was granted between 2017 and 2020 for Indorama Fertilizer and Chemicals Limited respectively.
Upon expiration of the pioneer status period and conclusion of post pioneer Audit, Nami said Indorama Petrochemical Limited tax file was returned to the FIRS Large Tax Office (LTO) in Port Harcourt.
So far, he said the company has filed its annual tax returns up to December 31, 2019 with relevant self-assessment and paid its attendant liabilities.
Urging the Public Accounts Committee “to always avail itself of the opportunity to work closely with the custodians of FIRS records, such as the Coordinating Directors, Directors and Tax Controllers as do other House Committees like the Committee on Finance, Nami said this would enhance its investigation at any time.
On May 27, 2021, the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts invited the FIRS Chairman to appear at its public hearing on June 9, 2021 to answer questions over alleged revenue leakages involving the three foreign firms.