FIRS generated N4.03tn in 2017 ~ Fowler

The Federal Inland Revenue Service announced on Monday that it collected a total of N4.03tn in the 2017 fiscal period.

The collection, according to a statement issued by the agency, represents 82.38 per cent of the government’s target of N4.89tn for the year.

The revenue of N4.03tn is, however, N720bn more than the 2016 total collection figure of N3.3tn.

An analysis of the collection performance indicated that taxes from non-oil sources accounted for 63 per cent, while oil tax accounted for 37 per cent of the total collection.

Stamp Duty recorded the most increase in performance with 94 per cent during the 2017 fiscal period.

The Executive Chairman, FIRS, Mr. Tunde Fowler, disclosed the collection figures during a visit by members of the Senate and House of Representatives Finance Committees to the palace of the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu. The visit was part of the FIRS management stakeholders’ retreat holding in Victoria Island, Lagos.

The statement quoted him to have said, “With the support of the National Assembly, your support and that of other stakeholders, the FIRS was able to collect over N4tn in 2017.

“This is an increase of over 20 per cent relative to our collection in 2016. We are hopeful that going forward, the FIRS will be able to fund this country through taxation.”

He added, “We all recall that beginning from the second half of 2014, there has been a sustained decline in the global prices of oil.

“Oil revenue generated by the FIRS in 2014 was N2.45tn; oil revenue generated in 2015, N1.29tn; the FIRS oil revenue generated in 2016, N1.16tn; and the FIRS oil revenue generated in 2017 was N1.52tn.

“This trend has had adverse effect on the ability of oil-dependent countries to meet their development objectives.”

Fowler added that the decline in receipts from oil revenue and the resultant decline in accruals to states from the Federation Account had placed many states in a financial stress to the point where basic obligations such as the payment of employee wages had become a perennial challenge.

He stated, “This is not the first time that Nigeria will experience economic slowdown as a result of fluctuations in global oil prices.

“This retreat, and what it hopes to achieve, is part of efforts to ensure that we act differently this time around by looking beyond oil as the mainstay of our economy.

“By putting our hands together in contribution to our set goal, I am confident that we will surpass our past results and we will be well on our way to the future we hope to achieve.”

Fowler noted that though collection increased by 20 per cent relative to 2016, the cost of collection went down to 2.49 per cent in 2017 relative to 2.60 per cent in 2016 and 2.62 per cent in 2015.

This, the FIRS Chairman noted, attested to the growing efficiency in collection by the service and to which the use of Information, Communication and Technology tools contributed.

Akiolu was quoted to have told the visitors that he was confident that the FIRS would surpass the revenue performance in 2018.

“Nigeria now needs good governance that will deliver development to the people. The FIRS has collected N4tn and they will collect more in the future,” he added.

The monarch noted that 60 to 70 per cent of the FIRS collection came from Lagos, adding that he was sending a letter to the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, to draw his attention to the 1851 treaty, which the colonial government signed with Oba Akintoye that three per cent of all taxes and two per cent of all exports collected in Lagos would go to the Oba.

“While I am not asking that this be paid to me now, it could be paid to the Lagos State Government,” he added.

According to Akiolu, he lives by example as he pays as much as N350m in tax every year.

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