The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has announced the collection of N12.66 billion in tax revenue from billionaire tax defaulters in the country lessTop of Form than a month after the revenue collecting agency commenced its substitution of accounts of Nigerian billionaires who have refused to pay taxed commensurate with their income.
This was revealed on Friday by the Executive Chairman of FIRS, Babatunde Fowler, while receiving the new Minister of Finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, during her spot visit to the Revenue House in Abuja.
A proud Fowler had happily informed the Finance Minster that the agency’s initiative had boosted government’s revenue intake by N12.66bn so far this year.
“The FIRS wrote to all commercial banks in May 2018 requesting for a list of companies, partnerships, and enterprises with banking turnover of N1bn and above. This activity is aimed at ascertaining those companies that are compliant with the tax laws and those that are not compliant. So far, the non-compliant organisations have paid about N12.66bn
The FIRS will continue to implement initiatives that will drive compliance and generate revenue by continuous taxpayer enlightenment; implementation of the Auto VAT Collect in other sectors of the economy; simplification of the tax processes, especially for small taxpayers; strengthening collaboration with other agencies such as the Corporate Affairs Commission, states’ boards of internal revenue; Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment; and the Nigeria Customs Service.”
Responding to this new achievement by the FIRS, the new Minister of Finance commended the agency for the achievement and reiterated her commitment to ensure maximum cooperation between both agencies.
“For us, the directive I have is to increase the tax revenue and that is the most important task ahead of all of us. You have done well. And the reward for good work is more work.” She said as she also urged the FIRS to maintain the tempo because the entire country depended on its work of increasing revenue collection to support the government.
She also used the opportunity to call on government agencies to work together to detect and expose all corrupt persons in the country, stating that this was President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive.
She continued further;
“The FIRS is a very important agency of government. I want to underscore this importance. The FIRS is one of the first agencies in the Ministry of Finance that I am meeting. The Federal Government’s Medium Term Plan is hinged on diversifying the economy away from oil revenues to non-oil revenues. And the report that the executive chairman of the FIRS has presented indicates that the diversification effort is working. This is reflected in the contribution of non-oil revenues over the last three years.
I am happy that we have a team in the FIRS that is not only expanding the revenue base, but also significantly improving tax collection and taking tax offices closer to the people, and making it easier for the people to pay their taxes by online and e-tax payment procedures that you have undertaken. And I am sure, from what I have heard today, that you would continue with all these processes.”
“I am also glad that you are increasing cooperation with several agencies like the EFCC, ICPC and Nigeria Customs Service. This is important because the directive from the President on anti-corruption involves cooperation within yourselves as well as with anti-corruption agencies. It makes a lot of sense to prioritise tax collection to larger categories, from the big ones to other ones.
The effort you are making in Abuja, Lagos and Osun (on payment of taxes on property using turnover as basis for assessment) is a commendable one and I encourage you to maintain the tempo in generating tax revenues.”
The minister also stated that the country needed to continue with efforts to strengthen the non-oil sector, which makes the job of the FIRS vital so that the non-oil sector would generate larger part of the tax revenue on sustainable basis.
At this point the Chairman of the FIRS broke down the figure of billions recovered from the defaulting tax payers. He said the agency realised the sum of N2.983bn from payment on demand notices from property owners, who were being assessed based on their turnover, and that 653 of 2,672 property owners had starting filing now.