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Government to target other sectors for revenue, says FIRS

By Owen Akenzuwa, Asaba   |   17 October 2016   |   4:08 am
Babatunde Fowler, FIRS Boss

Babatunde Fowler, FIRS Boss

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has said the current paradigm shift in Nigeria’s economy calls for attention and concerted efforts towards the development of other critical sectors of the economy for the much-needed revenue.

The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Babatunde Fowler, who was recently elected President of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) in Pretoria, South Africa in his remarks said without any doubt, the creative industry has opened new frontiers and economic opportunities in terms of wealth creation, knowledge economy, employment generation, local capacity utilisation and revenue generation; with huge potential to leapfrog into emerging high-growth economy.

Fowler, who was represented at the occasion by Mr. Kola Okwola noted, “that the extent to which an economy is able to grow sustainably and develop depends to a large extent, on its ability to generate tax revenue to finance its expenditure and the efficiency of its tax system.

According to him, the recent re-basing of Nigeria’s economy showed that the entertainment industry contributes over $6 billion to the newly rebased Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) stated that the entertainment and creative arts industry grew by 8.4 percent in the first quarter of the year. As such, the government is excited and interested in supporting the industry to contribute more because this means more revenue to federal and state governments.

“While government appreciates the fact that corporate and individual citizens must fulfill their civic responsibilities, the FIRS boss pointed that up coming sectors of the economy must be nurtured and encouraged to grow so as to perform competitively on a global scale which is the only way to attract revenue in both local and foreign currencies.

The Executive Chairman Delta State Board of Internal Revenue, Sir Monday John Onyeme called on Nigerians to pay their taxes especially now that oil, which is the main revenue source for Nigeria is fast depleting, warning that if care was not take the nation may plunge into a ‘Banana Republic’.

“Those days in the sixties our fathers used to pay their taxes, farmers, traders, artisans and workers they all pay taxes in the sixties. What have gone wrong? That only worker in an organized company and civil servants now pay taxes. Time has come for us to change the attitudes. This programme is technology driven with less paper work. And with this new development we will overcome the challenges that derailed us from paying our taxes.

He said the choice of using the entertainment industry to spearhead this initiative was not out of place because they are role models, saying when there’s innovation it will sell fast using entertainment industry as a drive.

While emphasing the type of taxes citizens should pay, he noted that it’s very necessary for entertainers to pay their Personal Income Tax, saying, from every events done by entertainers it’s expected of them to pay their taxes from it, he maintained that the Government cannot buy instrument for all entertainers before they are expected to perform their Civic Responsibility “ Payment of Tax is not to punish Citizens but it’s a Civic obligations needed to be performed.”

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Babatunde FowlerFIRS

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