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NITDA exposes FIRS over illegal debits of N1bn in 5 years



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The director general of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) headed by Dr. Pantami has exposed what it described as serial withdrawal of over N1bn from the development agency by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on the fiat orders of the Ministry of Finance between 2010 and 2015.

It was not clear if the debts were taxes payable by the federal agency which gets its budget from the ministry of Communications after all.

NITDA had reported before the House of Representatives Committee during a seating that the serial fund transfer has been the challenge of the agency in delivering its core function in growing ICT in the country over the years.

This therefore prompted the House of Representatives to pass a resolution to investigate the funds collected from the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), from 2010 to 2015 by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The resolution stemmed from the motion raised by the Committee Chairman on ICT, Mohammed Onawo (PDP, Nasarawa) who revealed that a whopping N1 billion was reported by NITDA as “having been debited based on the instructions of the Minister of Finance” without sufficient documentation of due evidential value, regardless of the provisions of its enabling Act as a development agency.”

“It has become difficult to locate a reliable record of all outstanding collections due to NITDA, and to confirm the amount of unmerited funds due from FIRS to NITDA.”

In his further submission, Onawo hinted that the poor collection and remittance mechanism into the National Information Technology Development Fund, NITDF, may have led to significant revenue shortfall for NITDA, thus affecting its ability to effectively deliver on
National Information Technology Development expectations.

The passage of the investigative resolution therefore prompted the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara to mandate the Committees on ICT and Finance to investigate the matter and other related issues and report back within eight weeks for further legislative action.

It was not clear if the investigative mandate given to the Committee covered the leaked memo which showed that the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed last year, asked the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to given him about N13mn for a trip to China.