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Why tax revenue shrank to N3.303 trillion in 2016, by FIRS

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Babatunde Fowler, FIRS Boss

• Agency unveils new strategies to reverse trend

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has explained why its collection for last year fell to N3.303 trillion, below expected income. The agency described the 2016 financial year as full of challenges.

The Executive Chairman of FIRS, Mr. Babatunde Fowler spoke in Abuja yesterday at a training organised for stakeholders to expand their knowledge on the operations of the FIRS.

According to Fowler, FIRS recorded a N3.303 trillion collection in a challenged year when oil prices dropped to less than $50 dollars a barrel for over nine months and when the value of stocks on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) fell and purchasing power was slim. The average oil price was about $100 dollars per barrel between 2012 and 2015.

He assured that the service was convinced that with progressive application of technology, persuasion and enforcement on recalcitrant taxpayers, and partnership with key stakeholders, FIRS will collect enough revenue for the nation in 2017.

The Guardian’s investigation reveals that the new tax collection figure of N3.303 trillion last year indicated a declining trajectory in collection figures in recent years.
Earnings dropped from N5.007 trillion in 2012 to N4.805 trillion in 2013 to N4.714 trillion in 2014 and N3.741 trillion in 2015.

Fowler, represented by the FIRS’ Director of Debt Management, Olufemi Faniyi, however, dispelled the fears. He said new strategies have been deployed to check the drift in tax collection and reverse the trend to achieve positive result in the current fiscal year.

He listed some of the initiatives as the introduction of waivers of interest and penalties to encourage voluntary compliance by taxpayers among others, as part of the efforts of the service to promote voluntary compliance and shield taxpayers from the burden of carrying forward tax liabilities that rose from penalty and interest.

Other strategies also deployed were collaboration with the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to ensure that all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government remit taxes such as Withholding Tax (WHT) Value Added Tax (VAT) and others.


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