Nigerian government pays states $433 million tax arrears

The federal government has settled the N157.35 billion ($433million) Pay As You Pay (PAYE) tax liabilities owed states by Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Tunde Fowler, has said.

Mr Fowler said the liabilities covered the period 2002 to 2016.

Mr Fowler spoke at the South-east zone of the New National Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) Registration System on Thursday in Awka, Anambra State.

He expressed optimism that the remittances would encourage state governments to reciprocate and promptly remit all withholding taxes and value added tax (VAT) collections due to the Federation Account.

He said over the last four years, the economic policies of the current administration have focused on establishing a stable foundation for further socio-economic growth and development.

Mr Fowler, who is also the Chairman of the Joint Tax Board (JTB), said the impact has been made, not only in tax-revenue administration but in the environment of doing business in Nigeria.

He listed some of the achievements of the JTB and the FIRS in the last few years to include the expansion of the tax base from 10 million to 20 million taxpayers with the potential for an increase of up to 45 million before the year ends.

Also, he said there is also an exponential growth in the internally generated revenue at the sub-national level by 46.11 per cent, from N800.02 billion in 2016 to N1.16 trillion in 2018.

Other achievements

He said the FIRS revenue collections grew by 53.81 per cent from N3.30 trillion in 2016 to N5.32 trillion in 2018, “the highest ever in the history of FIRS.” Non-oil revenue also grew by 54 per cent to about N2.85 trillion, he said.

On the World Bank Ease of Doing Business ranking, the FIRS chairman said the country emerged one of the top 20 reformers globally, moving up 16 places in the recently released 2020 Report from 146th to 131st position.

“The future of our country is in our hands. Nigeria and the whole of African cannot continue to rely on donation, aids and handouts from developed countries to pursue our development agenda,” he said.

Mr Fowler said the new TIN system which improves on the efficiency and output of the entire tax administration process, is also meant to provide enhanced convenience to the taxpayers as well as the tax administrators.

“It will also guarantee that each taxpayers details are readily available to them at their fingertips at all times and anywhere.

“A major feature of the new system is that it possesses the capability to integrate with all relevant agencies by leveraging on already captured data.
“With its ability to deploy analytics to discover underlying correlating trends and patterns, better visibility of the taxpayer is assured leading to increased IGR for all tiers of government,” Mr Fowler added.

The new system, the FIRS chairman said, reduces the burden of taxpayer information management, while at the same time significantly reduces the cost of collection.

The new system, he added, maintains the identification of an individual taxpayer via the assigning of a unique and universal TIN, unlike the old system, which did not allow taxpayers to view, retrieve or update their tax profile from anywhere 24/7.

Mr Fowler explained the purpose of ensuring a more friendly tax environment in the country, and achieving the objectives of the various socio-economic initiatives of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said the strategic revenue growth initiative, Ease of Doing Business and the Economic and Recovery Growth Plan will continue to be helped by such collaborative efforts.

Meanwhile, the Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Sam Okeke, launched the Anambra Stamp Duty Revenue Stamps, which he noted was part of the innovations introduced by the Chairman of the Anambra Revenue Service, David Nzekwu.

The governor said Anambra State “is the first in the country in terms of security, and tourism and is also deepening its attention to data, both of taxable and non-taxable citizens of the state”.

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