- Niger’s N15bn Tax Revenue Wrongly Paid to FCT – Governor
The Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Bello, on Monday said that the state was currently losing about N1.3bn monthly as taxes to the Federal Capital Territory.
Bello, who said this during a meeting with the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, at the headquarters of the ministry in Abuja, said the state’s N15bn annual tax revenue was being wrongly paid to the FCT.
He stated that currently, the Personal Income Taxes of over 95,000 people resident in Suleja, Niger State, but working in Abuja were being deducted by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and remitted to the FCT.
He said with the state losing that huge amount to the FCT, it would be difficult to meet the infrastructure needs of residents of Niger State.
Bello called on the minister to, as a matter of urgency, look into the issue because it negated the residency rule as contained in Section 41 of the Personal Income Tax Act.
The Act stipulates that the Personal Income Tax should be remitted to the state in which a person resides.
The governor said, “Our findings indicate that many thousands of those working in the Federal Capital Territory actually reside in Niger State, in areas such as Suleja and parts of Bwari, which border the FCT.
“However, the taxes deducted from their salaries are being remitted to the FCT on a consistent basis. This has been the case over many years and relates to both civil servants and workers engaged by the private sector.
“From our records, the number of people affected is up to 95,000 and the amount being lost monthly to Niger State is over N1.3bn, which is over N15bn every year. This money could be used to improve the lives of Niger State residents in the areas of health care, education, water and social services and job creation.
“By remitting the taxes of Niger State residents to the FCT, the hardworking residents of Niger State are being deprived of essential services such as schools, hospitals and good roads, as funds available to the Niger State Government are incomplete and thus development needs cannot be met.”
Bello, who put the monthly Internally Generated Revenue of the state at N400m, urged the Finance minister to direct the Accountant-General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris, to henceforth remit what belonged to the state to its coffers.
He also called on Adeosun to direct other Federal Government agencies such as the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, Securities and Exchange Commission, and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, among others, to commence remittances directly to the Niger State Government.
Responding, Adeosun, said the issues raised by the governor were consistent with the fiscal sustainability plan of the Federal Government to make sure that states generate enough revenue through taxes to meet their obligations.
She promised to look into the issues by setting up a reconciliation panel that would invite the Federal Capital Territory Administration as well as the Niger State Government.
The minister said, “You have put your points very well and this is a government of fairness and a law abiding government. N1bn a month is a lot of money that is deducted from people who are residents in Niger and to be paid in error to the FCT.
“You have come with facts, figures and names. We will pass that on to the Office of the Accountant-General and those on the IPPIS (Integrated Personal Payroll Information System), of course once we are sure they come from Niger State, we will segregate their taxes and pay those taxes to Niger and those of the FCT will go to the FCT Administration.”