Bank CEOs apologise to Reps for non-appearance on May 20

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nigeria_house_of_repsNine bank chief executive officers who failed to honour the House of Representatives Committee on Finance’s invitation on May12, complied with the committee’s summon with apologies in Abuja on Wednesday.

The bank chiefs who honoured the committee’s invitation told the committee members that they were “truly” sorry for failing to honour the invitation.

The nine banks that failed to honour the first invitation includes: Zenith Bank Plc, Sterling Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Plc, Skye Bank Plc, and Keystone Bank Plc.

Others are Enterprise Bank, Heritage Bank Plc, First City Monument Bank Plc, and Ecobank Plc.

The committee had on May 20 threatened to issue a bench warrant against any chief executive officer of banks who failed to appear over failure to render account on tax remittance.

Following the resolution of the House, the committee was mandated to oversight the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to open up new revenue opportunities for the government.

The committee’s mandate was also to consolidate on existing revenue and block leakages and waste.

The Finance Committee invited 21 banks for an interactive session where the chairman intended to give the banks template forms to fill to extract tax remittance of the banks to FIRS.

However, only 12 of the 21 banks appeared before the committee.

The absence of the nine bank chiefs provoked the committee Chairman , Rep. Abdulmumini Jibrin to threaten them with bench warrant if they failed to appear before it by 2 p.m., on May 22.

The banks chiefs responded to the invitation and apologised for their failure.

Meanwhile, virtually all the representatives of the banks attributed their non-appearance on May 20 to communication gap.

Leading other banks in the turn by turn apologies, the Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Mr Godwin Emefile, deeply tendered his apology and pleaded for forgiveness.

He told the lawmakers that banks are responsible financial institutions and would not disrespect the parliament in any way.

He said that banks would never do anything deliberately to slight, snob or disrespect the parliament.

Emefile assured that the banks would render all the necessary assistance in terms of supplying requisite information to the committee.

He further assured that the banks would provide information that would enable the committee succeed in its present oversight function.

Jibrin said that the essence of the investigation was to ensure that the tax system was strengthened.

However, Jibrin expressed displeasure over the appearance of Mr Peter Oyedele, a Senior Manager in charge of collections in the Enterprise Bank who represented the Managing Director, Ahmed Kuru.

It would be recalled that the committee had on May 20 specifically asked only for the affected banks chief executive officers and not subordinates.

He said that the investigative exercise was in line with global best practices where banks were placed under tax scrutiny by parliament in view of their strategic role to the economy.

Jibrin also said the investigative hearing was aimed at “shoring” up the revenue base of the government as well as amend or enact relevant laws to achieve the desired goal.

The chairman reiterated the resolve of the committee to strengthen FIRS and optimise the potential of the Nigerian tax system.

Jibrin said that the committee’s technical session was billed to start from June 3 to June 5.

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