Nami to politicians: stop politicizing tax revenue

Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Executive Chairman Muhammad Nami urged politicians to treat tax revenue generation as an apolitical issue.

Nami said this during his keynote address at the 2nd Annual National Tax Dialogue on the theme: “Tax Harmonization for Better Revenue Generation”, in Abuja.

While highlighting the country’s revenue profile in 2021, which showed that the FIRS had contributed a monthly average of 59.45% of the revenue shared by the three levels of government, Nami said it had become clear that the survival of the nation is dependent on tax revenue.

He said: “Everyone needs to be on deck to support the tax system and make it work effectively. However, it is surprising that some people have started doing politics with tax revenue generation.

“We humbly invite the president to intervene to deter political tax gladiators from sheathing their swords. Tax revenue is inherently apolitical issue; it must be treated as such by all, regardless of their political orientation.

Nami further highlighted how FIRS was able to record an unprecedented feat in tax revenue generation in 2021, where the Service surpassed its target and collected N6.4trn, the highest collection ever in the history of FIRS .

He said: “This discussion is imperative given the fact that despite our 38 tax authorities, multiple tax laws and numerous taxes or levies, the majority of taxpayers still remain outside the tax net.

“Tax evaders have found it convenient to sneak around competing revenue agencies to evade their tax obligations. The result is suboptimal revenue generation at all levels of government.

Declaring the dialogue open, President Muhammadu Buhari said a key deliverable of the dialogue is to promote synergy in tax administration between different levels of government.

Buhari also noted that: ”The harmonization of taxpayer identification across the country is a good start; but we need to do more to promote the ease of doing business, including the ease of tax compliance, in Nigeria.

“For our part, we started by specifying in the 2021 finance law that the FIRS is the only authority to administer taxes for the federal government.

“This clarification has become necessary in order to prevent taxpayers from being burdened with multiple tax compliance obligations to different agencies of the same government.

“The multiplicity of tax administration is as undesirable as the multiplicity of taxes; it creates uncertainty and instability; and above all, it is inefficient,” the president said.

In her opening remarks, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, highlighted the importance of the National Tax Dialogue, saying it was designed to engage stakeholders in the Nigerian fiscal space. in a meaningful discourse to glean information, ideas and experience in helping to formulate policies and improve the fiscal environment.

“We observed that countries with weaker economies and narrower tax bases, but streamlined tax administration fared much better than Nigeria in terms of tax revenue collection; and tax-to-GDP ratio.

“The objective of this year’s National Tax Dialogue is therefore to initiate the discussion on harmonizing fragmented tax systems into a cohesive whole for better tax revenue collection for all governments in the Federation,” she said. declared.

The FIRS also took the opportunity to celebrate and reward the highest paid and most complaining Nigerian taxpayers including MTN, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, NOCACO, AIRTEL and CHEVRON.

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