Reps summon FIRS boss, query tax waiver for P&G

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Accounts has invited the Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr Muhammad Mami, over a tax clearance certificates issued to Procter and Gamble, a firm based in the United States and operating in Nigeria, without payment of tax to the Federal Government.

The committee resolved to invite the FIRS boss at its investigative hearing in Abuja on Tuesday, following a unanimous adoption of a motion moved by a member, Zakaria Nyampa.

The committee is investigating the company based on a query issued by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation on its finances between 2016 and 2018.

Moving the motion, Nyampa said in the years under review, the turnover of P&G was N42bn, N41bn and N48bn respectively, while its profit was nil.

He said the FIRS needed to come and authenticate the clearance certificates paraded by P&G and explain reasons for the issuance.

The lawmaker said, “Chairman, permit me to take this as a motion. Some of these years under review, 2017, 2016, 2018 where their turnover was N42bn, N41bn and N48bn and their profits were nil, and FIRS went ahead to give them tax clearance.

“I want to move a motion that we invite FIRS to authenticate these certificates and their financial returns; the things they filed that FIRS was convinced that these people should not pay tax for those years under review.”

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Seconding the motion, Solomon Karen said based on the documents before him, he was also worried about the issue. He added that as a Nigerian, he was deeply concerned about the issue, calling for an in-depth investigation.

Chairman of the committee, Wole Oke, in his ruling, directed the clerk to ensure compliance with the resolution.

Oke stated that issuance of tax clearance certificate did not always depend of payment of taxes.

Oke also stressed the need to look into the import duty documents of P&G, saying that the company imported equipment worth N6.4bn in 2017.

He said, “If you look at the acceptance given to you, dated March 6, 2017, your foreign content was N6.4bn for value of foreign content, machinery and equipment.

“We need to look at their asset register in their versions audited account and their value on this certificate of acceptance along with their import duty paid on the equipment imported worth N6.4bn.

“The document you need to give us now are your important duty on the plant equipment and machinery.

“On your taxes, we will call FIRS to come and defend their decision to give you zero tax assessment which means you did not pay education tax neither did you pay company income tax.”

Earlier, the Financial Director of P&G, Mrs Ogunbodele Emiola, told the committee that in the years where profit was made, education tax was paid.

She added that the operating business environment in the country in recent years had been very difficult.

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