At the 2019 Management and Stakeholders Retreat which held in Lagos yesterday, the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Dr Babatunde Fowler disclosed that the body has set a target to generate N8 trillion from tax in 2019. This comes on the heels of recording the highest collection of tax in its history which amounted to N5.23 trillion in 2018 as against N4.03 trillion in 2017.
The importance of taxes to both the government and the economy cannot be overemphasized. Most countries have been able to attain development through revenue generated from constant tax payments of citizens. The government recognizes this and is determined to foster an effective tax system in Nigeria.
“The taxation of any economy and growth of policies of government depends largely on the revenue generated by the tax authorities. We agree that to achieve effective taxation, the support of the parliament cannot be overemphasized,” said Babangida Ibrahim, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Finance.
The FIRS has taken certain measures to ensure that taxes are not evaded in the country. The tax agency recently entered into a partnership with Taxpal, a professional tax consulting and business advisory firm launched in Lagos to help simplify tax payments in Nigeria. According to Dr Babatunde Fowler, there is a need for the government to look into compliance of tax laws especially for the non-oil sector before there can be any serious discussion on the diversification of the economy.
The FIRS also adopted the use of technology which made payments easier. From anywhere around the world, payments can be made through the e-payment channel. Every activity from registration, filing, stamp duty and tax clearance certificate are covered through e-services.
The closest the Federal Inland Revenue Service has been to such a huge tax revenue was in 2012 with N5.07 trillion. It is noteworthy that the oil prices at that time fluctuated between $100-$120 per barrel but now it was achieved at an average of $70 per barrel. Considering all these efforts to ensure taxes are not evaded in the country, the feasibility of achieving its 2019 target looks plausible.