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Tax revenues keep Nigeria afloat, says FIRS

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Tax revenues generated by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) have kept the nation’s economy going despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Executive Chairman of the agency, Mr. Muhammad Nami, has said.

Nami consequently urged Nigerians and body corporate in the country to continue to pay their taxes as and when due to enable government close the financial drops as a result of the virus.

He made the remarks yesterday as part of his national public enlightenment on voluntary tax compliance, especially educating the citizenry on stamp duty payments in Abuja.

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“Nobody wants to pay tax but payment of tax is necessary as there can never a time that is appropriate for somebody to pay taxes. It is happening all over the world.

“This belief that with oil money we are rich is false. What you see the federal, states and local governments sharing at the federation account meetings monthly comes from the taxes paid by Nigerians or body corporate. At the FAAC meeting in July, the total amount shared among the three tiers of government was N696 billion.

From this amount 30 per cent came from revenue generating-agencies like Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Customs. The remaining 70 per cent which is almost N500 billion, came from tax money that you paid, including stamp duty.

“Without this money, there will be chaos everywhere. You are looking at issues relating to COVID-19 and the impact it is having on businesses today. People are actually losing jobs but it would be worse if taxes are not paid,” the FIRS boss said.

Nami, who said that there would never be a convenient time for citizens to pay their taxes, stated that bankable Nigerians had been paying stamp duty on their cheque books since its introduction in 1939.

According to him, ‘the renewed focus on stamp duty via the recent launch of an inter-ministerial committee on the duty from 2016 till date has started to yield dividends.

“Before now, remittance from stamp used to be an average of about N17 billion and N18 billion per year. Currently, it is in the region of N80 billion. I can confirm to you too that a commercial bank which has not been remitting this stamp duty before now, in the month of July alone, remitted about N1.2 billion. So, we are not playing about it,” Nami said.

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