The Federal Government is set to appoint about 150 firms as consultants to probe revenues collected by banks on behalf of the Nigeria Customs Service and the Federal Inland Revenue Service between July 2012 and December 2015.
This is sequel to a probe of the revenues collected by the banks between January 2008 and June 2012, which revealed that the banks failed to remit N12bn that they collected in taxes and duties on behalf of the government revenue agencies.
Following the success of the first exercise, the National Economic Council at its meeting on April 21 directed the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission to appoint consultants to ensure wide coverage in the verification of the activities of the banks.
Following the approval granted by the council, the RMAFC proceeded to advertise for the consultancy job in the July 24 edition of the Federal Tenders Journal.
Investigation by our correspondent showed that more than 150 consultants applied for the job. While many companies will be appointed, one of them will serve as the lead consultant. Each of the consulting firms will report to the lead consultant.
It was learnt that government decided to appoint a large number of consultants to ensure the coverage of most of the branches of the banks across the country.
Finance authorities believe that the first exercise would have revealed more gaps between what the banks collected and what they remitted if more consultants had been hired. The first exercise was based on samples of the branches of the banks.
It was also gathered that the consultants would be paid 15 per cent of whatever they unravelled as unremitted funds from the books of the banks in the belief that this form of remuneration would encourage them to do a thorough job.
Our correspondent gathered that almost all the firms that applied to carry out the verification of the banks? books would be hired.
During the first phase of the exercise, JK Consulting Company Limited served as the lead consultant.
Speaking on the first report, the Chairman, Non-oil Committee of the RMAFC, Ajibola Fagboyegun, insisted that the collecting banks must return the over N12bn, which they failed to remit to the government coffers between 2008 and 2012.