By Tony Obiechina
The Federal Government has mandated all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government (MDAs) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to authenticate all Tax Clearance Certificates (TCCs) presented by companies and individuals engaged in public procurement processes.
This was contained in a statement on Tuesday by Mr Oluyinka Akintunde, Media Adviser to Finance Minister, said the directive is in response to the proliferation of forged TCCs purportedly issued prior to the automation of the certificates from 22nd August, 2017.
The statement quoting a circular by the Minister requires the MDAs to authenticate all TCCs prior to making any payment. Electronic TCCS (e-TCCs) can be verified via logging into https//tcc.firs.gov.ng and taking the following steps: click on verify e-TCC, enter the TCC number and complete the captcha, and click on submit to view the TCC number entered.
According to the statement, for TCCs issued before 22ndAugust, 2017, the Circular advised the MDAs and other stakeholders “to forward a list of the companies and photocopies of the TCCs to the office of the Executive Chairman, FIRS for authentication. The FIRS has undertaken to verify the TCCs within 72 hours of receipt.
The Minister reminds Company Directors that possession is an offense. The now outdated manual system allowed production of forged TCCs. Companies and individuals in doubt as to the authenticity of their TCCs are advised to take advantage of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) to regularise.
She added that the Federal Ministry of Finance and the FIRS will continue to work in partnership with government at all levels and stakeholders towards eradicating tax fraud and evasion.
The Federal Government, it will be recalled, had in January 2018 directed vendors of MDAs to display their Tax Identification Numbers (TINs) on their invoices before payments are effected. The non-presentation of a TIN by the vendors largely contributed to leakages in revenue remittances, particularly Value Added Tax (VAT) and Withholding Tax (WHT).