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Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ola Olukoyede has called for closer working relationship with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in tackling tax evasion and fraud in the extractive industry.
He made this call on Wednesday, November 29, 2023 while receiving the Chairman of FIRS, Zacch Adedeji at the corporate headquarters of the EFCC in Abuja. He described the relationship between the two agencies as strategic, stressing that the alliance should be deepened to grow the economy.
“The FIRS is one of the most relevant agencies in the country. Without delivering on your mandate, I don’t think the EFCC will be here, because it is based on what you are generating that we are fighting to protect. I want us to further develop a strong working relationship because we are all working towards the same goal and what is left undone is for us to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, that will solidify our relationship”, he said.
He further explained that he developed the concept note that led to the establishment of the Tax Fraud Section in the EFCC. “The Section handles issues of taxation which has been productive and since then we have recorded tremendous milestone achievement”, he said.
The EFCC boss lamented the alarming level of fraud in the extractive industry, particularly solid minerals. Olukoyede wants concerted actions between the EFCC and FIRS to tackle fraudsters operating in the industry. He also seeks the support of the Service in the areas of technological empowerment and development, particularly upgrade of the forensic laboratory and training of its staff.
Earlier in his speech, Adedeji congratulated the EFCC boss on his appointment, stating that he recognized the critical role of the Commission in supporting reforms that are critical to the transformation agenda of the government.
He says that the FIRS strives to raise the revenue needed to fund the operations of the government and the EFCC is also playing its roles in ensuring that funds are judiciously utilised in line with the social contract with the people.
“I appreciate the existing cordial working relationship between the FIRS and the EFCC over the past few years. This collaboration and exchange of information has tremendously helped in improving tax compliance levels in Nigeria, so there is a need to sustain this laudable synergy and, where necessary, expand the scope and intensity.
“We could also benefit from joint training and capacity-building programs to enhance the skills of our personnels in detecting and addressing financial crimes related to tax evasion. We kindly solicit the support of the EFCC in data sharing to enhance our intelligence gathering and investigation”, he said.