FIRS rakes in N13bn from billionaire tax debtors

Less than a month after it commenced substitution of accounts of recalcitrant billionaire taxpayers, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has collected over N12.66 billion in tax revenue.

The Executive Chairman, FIRS, Tunde Fowler, disclosed this at the weekend when he received the new Minister of Finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, during her visit to FIRS headquarters in Abuja.

Fowler spoke as Hajia Zainab Ahmed, the new Finance Minister commended the agency for shoring-up the non-oil revenue, saying, “the Ministry of Finance will continue to collaborative with FIRS to support all the efforts you are making. And as much as possible, we should interface frequently. For us, the directive I have is to increase the tax revenue and that is the most important task ahead of all of us. You have done well. And the reward for good work is more work,” she said.

Hajia Ahmed urged the FIRS to “maintain the tempo” because literally, the country depends on the work that FIRS does to shore-up the revenue collection to support the government.

She urged government agencies to work together to fish out all corrupt persons in the country, stating that this was President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive.

“FIRS is a very important agency of government. I wanted to underscore this importance. FIRS is one of the first agencies in the Ministry of Finance that I am meeting. The Federal Government’s Medium Term Plan is hinged on diversifying the economy away from oil revenues to non-oil sector. And the report the Executive Chairman of FIRS has presented indicates that the diversification effort is working. This is reflected in the turn of the contribution of non-oil revenues over the last three years.

“I am happy that we have a team in FIRS that is not only expanding the revenue base but also significantly improving tax collection and taking tax offices closer to the people and making it easier for the people to pay their taxes by online and e-tax payment procedures that you have undertaken. And I am sure that from what I have heard today, you would continue with all these processes.

“I am also glad that you are increasing cooperation with several agencies like the EFCC, ICPC and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). This is important because the directive from the president for anti-corruption involves cooperation within yourselves as well as with anti-corruption agencies.

“It makes a lot of sense to prioritise tax collection to larger categories – from the big ones to other ones. The effort you are making in Abuja, Lagos and Osun – (on payment of taxes on property using their turnover as basis for assessment) – is a commendable one and I encourage you to maintain the tempo in generating tax revenues,” she said.

News Reporter
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