Members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday invited Godwin Emefiele, governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), over the recent policy on foreign exchange deposits with commercial banks.
Also at plenary, the House resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee that will investigate the N89 billion realised by Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) from taxes paid by companies operating across the country.
The resolutions were passed by the lawmakers following the adoption of the motions sponsored by Emmanuel Ekon (PDP Akwa-Ibom), and Abubakar Amuda-Kannike (APC Kwara).
In his lead debate, Ekon noted that the CBN’s directive that commercial banks should reject foreign currency deposits “is already inflicting untold hardships on Nigerians and manufacturers.”
According to him, Section 16 of the CBN Act 2007 conferred the statutory powers on the apex bank to devise suitable mechanism for the exchange rate of naira from time to time.
While acknowledging that the policy may have both short- and long-term economic benefits, the lawmaker however noted “CBN has not created avenues to address the fears of parents wishing to remit money abroad for their children’s education and manufacturers placing orders for goods abroad.”
Ekon explained that the CBN governor during the proposed interaction will brief the House on the policy in order to enable them allay the fears of their respective constituents and thereby leverage the enlightenment drive of the CBN on the necessity of the policy.
The lawmaker, who noted that Section 12 of the CBN Act 2007 empowers the apex bank to formulate monetary policy and credit policies for the country, however, argued that “if the CBN fails or neglects to give proper explanations and carry out proper enlightenment of the said policy to Nigerians, the policy may appear unpopular, counterproductive and grossly misunderstood by the general populace.”
During the debate on the proposed investigation on the revenue accrued to FIRS from the taxes collected, Amuda-Kannike stressed the need to investigate accounting procedure adopted by FIRS in relevance to relevant sections of the FIRS Act.
He noted that “in the year 2014, out of N4.69 trillion generated by the Service, non-oil taxes were given as N2.24 trillion, 4 percent which amounted to N89.6 billion was presumably retained as operational cost by the Service for that year.”
The lawmaker however noted that the amount accrued to the Service might have been a significant contribution to the sources of funding the nations budget which stood at N4.669 trillion.
“The House is also concerned that given the fact that the country has been experiencing revenue earnings from the sales of crude oil due to the weakening global demand and fall in oil prices, a product which the country depends.
“There is a need to ensure transparency, accountability and due diligence in the management of the country’s revenue to rekindle hope in Nigeria’s creditors about her fiscal capacity to added her macroeconomic concerns. We feel that there might be irregularities in the accounting procedure and calculations of the 4 percent of the non-oil taxes the service is empowered to retain as operational costs,” he said.