N10.1 TRILLION TAX REVENUE: FIRS HAS AGAIN BROKEN THE JINX
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), government’s agency responsible for assessing, collecting and accounting for tax and other revenues accruing to the Federal Government of Nigeria, have been recording tremendous successes and living up to it’s mandate especially under the leadership of the Executive Chairman, Muhammad Nami.
Prior to the present leadership, the FIRS was seen to be limited in capacity as it could not efficiently facilitate an effective tax collection system through bringing more tax paying entities into the national tax net. And this reflected in low revenue generation for the Federal Government year in, year out.
But amazingly, in 2020, the agency received commendations for exceeding its revenue target in the second quarter (Q2) of 2020; it generated N19.15 billion above its N1.27 trillion target and this was just few months after Muhammad Nami assumed office. More intriguing is the fact that that was the first time in five years (since Q2 of 2015) that the FIRS would be surpassing its revenue target.
In 2021, the Service achieved a record tax collection of N6.405 trillion, representing over a hundred per cent of its collection target for the year and also marked the first time that agency crossed the six trillion mark. And this was despite the economic downturn experienced in the world as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. This was good, but the tax collection agency did not rest on its oars rather it went further to prove that with the right kind of visionary leadership, it can do better and that there are better days ahead for the country. And this it did by building on the success already recorded.
More recently, the agency re-wrote Nigeria’s tax collection history when it announced in its “FIRS 2022 Performance Update” report that it collected over N10.1 trillion in tax revenue in the year 2022, signifying over 96 per cent of its collection target for the year, marking the highest tax collection ever recorded in its history and the first time that the FIRS will cross the N10 trillion mark in tax revenue collection.
Out of the N10.1 trillion collected in revenue, oil sector collection stood at N4.09 trillion (representing 59% of the total collection) while non-oil tax contributed N5.96 trillion (representing 41%). Also, Companies Income Tax contributed N2.83 trillion; Value Added Tax N2.51 trillion; Electronic Money Transfer Levy N125.67 billion and Earmarked Taxes N353.69 billion. Also according to the report, the N10.1 trillion realized from tax is exclusive of tax waived on account of various tax incentives granted under the respective laws, which amounted to N1.8 trillion.
Of course you would agree with me that this unprecedented milestone is not a sheer bit of luck, it did not just happen by chance. It is as a result of deliberate, well thought out plans, strategies and efforts put in place which has now metamorphosed into a jinx breaker in the history of the apex tax administration agency in Nigeria.
The report shed more light on this. It stated that “the Muhammad Nami-led management upon assumption of office came up with a four-point focus, namely: administrative and operational restructuring; making the service customer-focused; creating a data-centric institution; and automation of administrative and operational processes”.
It further noted that over the period of 2020 to 2022, “the management introduced reforms bordering around this four-point at different times and this is what is now gradually yielding fruits. Notable amongst this is the restructuring of the administration of the Service for maximum efficiency and achievement of internal cohesion such that all functional units now work in unison towards the achievement of set goals.
“The Service had also automated most of the administrative and operational processes. A major leap was the full deployment of the TaxPro Max for end-to-end administration of taxes in June 2021. The module for the automated TCC went live 1st January 2023 while taxpayers had already downloaded over 1,000 TCCs this year without having to visit FIRS office.
“It also noted that the Service had operationalised its data mining and analysis system thereby allowing for data-backed taxpayer profiling”.
Another breakthrough that was instrumental to this historical feat in the FIRS is the opening of 25 new satellite tax offices across the country as part of the agency’s goal to “bring tax services nearer to the taxpaying public while bringing FIRS nearer to the public”. According to the FIRS, the purpose of the new tax offices was to “help bring many taxpayers into the tax net, help fill companies income tax, and value added tax as well as monitor compliance with other taxes,”
All these conscious efforts summed up together, birthed the new era that we are witnessing today in the FIRS under the leadership of a seasoned tax consultant and administrator who has proven to be more than equal to the task. The FIRS Boss’ top notch reforms and strategies have not just ushered the agency into a whole new era but also paved way for it to achieve much more than it had achieved in the previous years.
And like the agency rightly said, its goal is to build on the current reforms, identify more areas where it can improve in the delivery and efficiency of its collection, and plug loopholes while deploying innovative reforms in data and artificial intelligence.
By achieving this, it will harness and even improve on its momentum in 2023 to provide sustainable tax revenue that would fund government’s projects, services, programmes and amenities.
Ijanada Jantiku, a public affairs commentator writes from Borno State.
“Nigeria College of Taxation and Fiscal Studies” Bill Passes Second Reading
A bill for an Act to establish the Nigeria College of Taxation and Fiscal Studies passed its Second Reading last week at the Senate.
The presentation of the Bill was made by Senator Abdullahi Aliyu Sabi CON on the floor of the Senate Tuesday last week, where he noted that the institution, if established would provide professional and academic training as well as certification for tax administrators, tax practitioners and tax professionals across the country.
In his presentation, Senator Sabi, who represents Niger North Senatorial District of Niger State stated that the College had become necessary given the important role that taxation is playing in the nation’s economy, and that this institution would help formulate and draft tax policy for the country while addressing human capital gaps in the country’s tax industry.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that diversifying the sources of government revenue to focus on sustainable sources is inevitable. This diversification puts taxation at the centre of the revenue mobilization discussion; the attainment of this laudable objective would require tax experts who have been properly and adequately schooled to formulate tax policy, draft and interpret tax legislation, carry on private tax practice, and administer taxation in the modern era.
“In view of the constant shift in the social, technological and business environment, with direct impact on the tax system, it is is important to have skills, competence, and adaptable personnel to man the tax system. There must be a conscious development of the field of taxation and fiscal policies in Nigeria to awake the society on the importance of taxation as a sine qua non to our development.
“Nigeria must go beyond the mere inclusion of taxation in the curriculum of educational institutions; instead the country must establish a modern system that facilitates the study of taxation via a well laid out academic curriculum, guided and focused by practical realities of Nigerian taxation and the revenue ecosystem,” he noted.
Senator Sabi further emphasised that the College would help in tackling the issue of lack of sufficient capacity of tax officers, which he noted has led to “the delegation of powers of revenue authorities to third parties, creating complications, multiplicity and uncertainty in the tax system,” and that it would correct “aggressive and orthodox methods for tax collection” while also carrying out a “regular review of obsolete tax laws that do not reflect modern realities.”
He noted that all these would help the country address its fiscal and revenue challenges and achieve the objectives of the National Tax Policy.
In his presentation, the distinguished Senator representing Niger North also cited that countries such as Kenya, Japan, India, Australia, Austria, Singapore, and Malaysia have established similar institutions for developing capacity in taxation, excise duty and customs and fiscal matters, and that this has impacted positively on their economy through significantly high tax-to-GDP ratios.
This College is expected to provide training for tax officials, including officers of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria Customs, sub-national revenue authorities, and even the general public. It is to consist of a main campus and 12 regional centres.
The Bill proposes that the College would be funded chiefly by the extant yearly subvention of the FIRS for training thus requiring no direct impact on government spending.
Senator Adamu Aliero representing Kebbi Central District, Kebbi State, commenting on the Bill noted that the only sustainable source of revenue for the Federation was taxation, and that the proposed College would train tax officials who would be instrumental to widening the country’s tax net.
He also added that there is currently no institution in Nigeria that offers specialised training in taxation.
NLC, CBN meet in Abuja over Cash scarcity
In less than 24 hours after the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, directed all its branches and affiliate unions to mobilize members for a shut down of all the branches of the Central Bank of Nigerian, CBN, across the country, over cash scarcity, the apex bank on Thursday evening met with the NLC at the Labour House Abuja.
Recall that the Comrade Joe Ajaero-led NLC, had on Wednesday while addressing journalists said that activities in all branches of the CBN nationwide and the Abuja headquarters will be shut down on Wednesday next due to the cash crunch in the country.
Comrade Ajaero had advised workers to stockpile food items as the industrial dispute with the CBN will be total.
He said Nigerians have been subjected to untold hardship occasioned by the scarcity of naira notes to attend to medical needs and other areas of need.
Vanguard gathered that the NLC threat to paralyze activities at the CBN necessitated the impromptu meeting which started at about 5 pm on Thursday.
The two man delegation made up of the CBN Deputy Gpvrrnor in charge of operations and the Deputy Governor in charge of Economic Pokicy, told the NLC President that about two billion naira was pushed out on Thursdsy in a bid to address the hardship.
A source privy to the meeting told Vanguard that the CBN promised to ensure that the scarcity of naira notes will come to an end as quickly as possible.
“They said the money they pushed out today is equivalent to the whole money pushed out within the week. They also promised to work day and night starting from this night to ensure that there is enough money in the banks,” the source said.
He further said that the CBN denied the allegation that it was printing money out of the country and that the Governor, Godwin Emefiele has directed that the old naira notes should be made available to customers.
Besides, the source denied the allegation that the old naira notes have been burnt, assuring that there will be remarkable improvement in few days to come.
It was gathered that the NLC President, Comrade Ajaero told the CBN delegation that he was not interested in how much that was pushed out, but only interested in seeing that workers and other Nigerians collect their money in banks without stress..
“The President told them that it does not bother us how much they pushed out, our concern is to see that this hardship comes to a stop.
“He also told them that they should work day and night to solve the problem and will depend on the feedback from the average Nigerians who go to the banks to make withdrawals whether there is improvement before Wednesday next week NLC planned to picket the apex bank ,” the source said.
When contacted, the NLC President, Comrade Ajaero, confirmed the meeting and said that the interest of the leadership is to see that Nigerians are able to withdraw their money devoid of the hardship they are passing through.
“We will only know that they are serious when we see improvement,” he added.
EFCC Arraigns FCMB Manager Over N55Million Overdraft Fraud
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned one Kichime Gomwalk, a bank manager and two others for alleged fraud.
Gomwalk of First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Michael Damkas Buayam of Tan Global Energy Limited, and Abbas Andrew Dayilim of Castlegate International Limited were arraigned on Tuesday before Justice P. S. Gang of the Plateau State High Court Jos.
The accused persons were arraigned on five counts bordering on stealing, cheating and obtaining by false pretence money to the tune of N55,000.000.00 (fifty-five million naira).
Gomwalk, while serving as the manager of the bank’s branch at Murtala Mohammed Way in Jos, the Plateau State capital, was alleged to have forged COCIN Gratuity Certificate of Pledge/Letter of Set-Off dated December 30, 2019, purportedly co-signed by Mrs. Monica Bitrus Tang and Rev (Dr.) Amos Musa Mohzo, Directors.
It was allegedly used to secure an overdraft facility from FCMB Plc to the tune of N55 million with COCIN Gratuity account number 100GOMWALK379 domiciled with FCMB Plc.
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