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Auditor-General accuses Customs, FIRS of granting unauthorised waivers

—-says CGC Ali fails to answer 11 audits queries

Eyewitness reporter

The Auditor- General of the Federation(AuGf), Adolphus Aguhughu, has accused the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service( FIRS) of granting  unathorised waivers, amounting to billions of naira, which he said should have been part of the revenue accruable to the coffers of the Federal government.
In the 2019 Auditor General’s report with ref. AuGf/AR.2019/01 dated 18th August 2021 signed by Adolphus Aguhughu, AuGf, and submitted to the Clark to the National Assembly, the Auditor-General said the waivers were granted by FIRS and the Customs Service to some selected tax payers and importers as well as under remitting revenue collected to the government during the 2019 financial year.
According to the report, the Auditor-General said he observed that  “from the review of waivers granted and other relevant records, that the sum of N17,223,453.56 only being part of import duty due to the Federation Account during the 2019 financial year was granted as waivers to fourteen (14) Staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at 50% rebate” by the Nigeria Customs Service.
Adolphus Aguhughu furher noted that the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col(rtd) Hammed Ali refused to answer 11 audit queries posed to him by the office of the Auditor-General.
On the other hand,the reports said that records from the Federations Account Allocation Committee revealed that some companies were granted tax waiver and penalties by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in contravention of existing government circulars.

It said that despite directives, the FIRS was only able to recover the sum of N47.517bilion, while being unable to recover the balance of N23.703 billion which has been outstanding as of 23rd January 2019.
The report said the Executive Chairman of the FIRS failed to give reasons why the sum of N23.703 billion was still outstanding, adding that he should be asked to provide the list of companies that failed to pay the amount due against them.
The report said that the management of the Federal Inland Revenue Service only responded to two of the six audit queries issued to them by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation while failing to respond to the remaining four queries.

The report further said that “the anomalies could be attributed to weaknesses in the internal control system at the Federal Inland Revenue Service” as it could lead to loss of revenue to the Federation Account as well as difficulty in funding the annual budget.

”The OAuGF wants the outstanding amount recovered and remitted to the Federation Account, while evidence of the remittance should be forwarded to the Public Accounts Committees of the National Assembly or appropriate sanctions be imposed on the Service.

According to the report, a review of Inflows into the Federation Account revealed that taxes paid through Paydirect owned by Interswitch showed details of taxpayers such as Tax Identification Number (TIN) and amount, while taxes paid through Remitta, E-tax pay, and eTranzact which were transferred to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directly did not reflect fully, details of the Tax Payers on the FIRS Webportal.

It said that the Executive Chairman of FIRS should be requested to provide reasons for the inability of the CBN to disclose details such as TIN, Name and Amount of tax payers remitted directly to the pool account.

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Nigerians to groan under fresh fuel scarcity for another two weeks- Independent Petroleum Marketers

The Eyewitness Reporter 
The current fuel crisis in the country may not go anytime soon as the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has warned that the situation may likely persist for the next two weeks.
Speaking against the fresh fuel scarcity in the country, the IPMAN’s Public Relations Officer, Chinedu Ukadike disclosed that there is no petrol product available for supply in the country.
Ukadike, in a statement, said there is a breach in the international supply chain, adding that fuel is not available even for Nigeria’s sole supplier, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NPCL).
This follows an ongoing turnaround maintenance of refineries in Europe.Ukadike explained that once there is a breach in the international supply chain, it will have an impact on domestic supply because they depend on imports.

“The situation is that there is no product. Once there is a lack of supply or inadequate supply, what you will see is scarcity and queues will emerge at filling stations.

“On the part of NNPCL, which is the sole supplier of petroleum products in Nigeria, they have attributed the challenge to logistics and vessel problems.

“Once there is a breach in the international supply chain, it will have an impact on domestic supply because we depend on imports.

” I also have it on good authority that most of the refineries in Europe are undergoing turnaround maintenance, so sourcing petroleum products has become a bit difficult.” IPMAN spokesman said.
According to him, “NNPC Group CEO has assured us that there will be improvement in the supply chain because their vessels are arriving”.“Once that is done, normalcy will return. This is because once the 30-day supply sufficiency is disrupted, it takes two to three months to restore it.

“We expect that by next week or so, NNPC should be able to restore supply and with another week, normalcy should return,” he said.

Ukadike further stated that “NNPC has said the marketers who have not been able to renew their licences will not be allowed to remain on their portal which has been shut for some time now.

” Because of this, we have not been able to request new products”.

 “At this nascent period of deregulation, you will discover that this leads to scarcity, even when the product arrives.

“As it is now, even by their data, out of 15,000 marketers that are on the portal with licences, only 1,050 renewed their licences.

“The requirement for renewal by NMDPRA is so much. Marketers are facing a hostile environment. NNPC placed a deadline of April 15, 2024, for marketers to renew their licences.

“We are, therefore, appealing to NNPC to extend this deadline and also to NMDPRA to hasten the release of licences of marketers who have completed their processes, and also reduce bottlenecks around licence renewals.”

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CBN sells $15.830m at N1.021 per dollar to 1,583 BDCs

CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso
The Eyewitness Reporter 
In its ongoing effort to ensure liquidity in the foreign exchange market which is expected to ease the pressure on the naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday disbursed the sum of $15,830,000m to 1,583 licensed Bureau De Change Operators at $10, 000 each.
In a letter dated April 22nd, 2024 and addressed to the President of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria and signed by Dr Hassan Mahmud, the Director, Trade and Exchange Department of the CBN, the beneficiaries are mandated to sell allocated forex to eligible end users ” at a spread of not more than 1.5 percent above the purchase price.
The CBN said the sale of forex to the BDCs will meet market demand (retail-end) for invisible transactions.
The apex bank however advised all the BDCs to continue to abide by the rules and conditions as stipulated in the operational guidelines.
The beneficiary BDCs have trading locations at Lagos, Abuja, Akwa and Kano.
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News Alert! CBN revokes operational licenses of 4,173 Bureau De Change operators for breach of regulatory guidelines

CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso

The Eyewitness Reporter

In its continuous efforts to sanitize the foreign exchange market and halt the frightening slide of the naira in exchange for the dollars, the Central Bank of Nigeria has revoked the operational licenses of 1,173 Bureau De Change operators.

In a press release issued Friday, March 1st, 2024 and signed by Mrs. Sidi Ali Hakama, the Acting Director, Corporate Communications, the apex bank said the axed BDCs failed to observe at least one of the following regulatory provisions which include payment of all necessary fees, including license renewal within the stipulated period in line with the Guidelines, rendition of returns in line with the Guidelines, compliance with guideline, directives and circulars of the CBN, particularly Anti-Money Laundering(AML), countering the Financing of Terrorism(CFT)and Counter-Proliferation Financing(CPF) regulations.

The apex bank said it relied on the powers conferred on it under the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act(BOFIA)2020, Act n0.5 and Revised Operational Guidelines for Bureaux De Change 2015(the Guidelines).

“The CBN is revising the regulatory and supervisory guidelines for Bureau de Change operations in Nigeria. Compliance with the new requirements will be mandatory for all stakeholders in the sector when the revised guidelines become effective.

‘Members of the Public are hereby advised to take note and be guided accordingly”, the statement concluded.

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