FIRS generates N4trn taxes -Fowler

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has grossed N4 trillion in taxes last year.

This was disclosed yesterday by the FIRS Chairman, Mr. Babatunde Fowler, during a visit of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives Finance Committees to the palace of the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Babatunde Akiolu.  The visit was part of the FIRS management stakeholders’ retreat in Lagos.

Last year,  revenue generation figure, according to Fowler, marked a 20 per cent improvement on the N3.3 trillion collected in 2016.

Addressing the gathering, which also comprised FIRS and Joint Tax Board (JTB) bigwigs, Fowler said the appreciable jump in taxes collected in 2017 is an indication that Nigeria can depend less on oil revenue, which has dipped since 2014, following a slump in oil prices on the international market.

Akiolu, who said he has paid N350 million  in taxes over seven years,  called on all eligible taxpayers to pay their taxes when due, so as to help the government provide infrastructure. He also called on members of the Finance Committee to do the same.

“Our taxes are what the government needs to build schools, provide healthcare, build roads and provide other amenities for our people. I call on you senators and members of the House of Representatives to pay your taxes. Some of you have farms. You must pay taxes on income from your farms,” said Oba Akiolu.

 In his welcome address at the Management and Stakeholders’ Retreat, Fowler said actual revenue collection for 2015 stood at N3.7trillion, with N2.4 trillion coming from non-oil receipts. Out of the sum of N3.3trillion collected in 2016, he added, N2.14trillion came from non-oil receipts.

Fowler added that taxation remains the most sustainable of government revenue sources.

“There cannot be any serious discussion on diversification of the economy without reviewing the tax regime,” he stated.

He explained further that the decline in oil receipts and accruals to states and the Federation Account has put states in financial turmoil to the extent that basic obligations such as payment of workers’ salaries and pensions to retirees have become a perennial difficulty.