Mr. Muhammed Nami, the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has disclosed that the service raked in N10.1 trillion in tax revenue in 2022. Nami disclosed this while speaking to journalists after presenting the FIRS 2022 Performance Update to President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.
While this is a record figure in the history of the FIRS, it was short of the N10.44 trillion target set for the service during the year in review. Nami stated that the service would have hit its target for 2022, but was restrained by the different tax incentives that were granted by various laws, the incentives amounted to N1.8 trillion. Furthermore, he said that political interests and litigation against the service hindered the tax collection drive in 2022.
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“We would have actually done better, but for several issues, some of which are political and very sensitive to discuss in the public domain.
The performance report explained that the oil taxes receipt made up N4.09 trillion or 41% of the total collections, while non-oil taxes made up about N5.96 trillion or 59% of the taxes. The report showed that the Companies’ Income Tax accounted for N2.83 trillion of the total collections, while Value Added Tax stood at N2.51 trillion. Electronic Money Transfer Levy was N125.67 billion and Earmarked Taxes were N353.69 billion.
Nami said that the service’s historic tax performance is due to the dogged implementation of strategic reforms over the past two years; a renewed commitment by officers of the service, accompanied by boosted morale, as well as the innovative deployment of technology for automation of both tax administration and operational processes.
In his press briefing, Mr. Nami referred to the faceoff between the FIRS and NIPOST that has been on since 2020 as part of the efforts that hindered the tax collection drive.
He said, “These are not just mere issues but people instituting legal actions against FIRS to further distract us. People instituting, even federal agencies instituting legal actions against laws that have been passed by the National Assembly and signed into law by Mr. President.”
“But the most important one is distractions from certain interests within the federal government itself and the sub-nationals or people who want to do what FIRS is doing – in other words, those that want to perform the statutory functions of FIRS of assessing, collecting, and accounting for taxes in Nigeria.” He added.
The controversial faceoff has been over the stamp duty collection responsibility. Stamp duties are collected by the Federal Government on receipts, electronic transfers, and teller deposits. The squabble between both agencies is due to the interpretation of the provisions of the acts establishing both agencies. And it led to the FIRS being dragged to court by NIPOST in 2020.
According to Section 5 (c) and (d) of the NIPOST Act, it is stated that NIPOST has the power to
(c) prescribe the amount of postage stamps and the manner in which it is to be paid.
(d) to provide postage stamps and other stamped papers, cards, and envelopes and to provide such other evidence of payment of postage and fees as may be necessary or desirable.
However, no section in the NIPOST Act gives NIPOST express powers over the collection of stamp duty on financial instruments. Meanwhile, Section 8 of the FIRS Act empowers the FIRS to assess, collect, account, and enforce payment of taxes as may be due to the Federal Government or any of its agencies as it concerns taxes; and to collect any tax under any provision of the FIRS Act or any other enactment or law.
And taxes are defined by Section 69 of the FIRS Act as “any duty, levy or revenue accruable to the government in full or in part under this Act, the laws listed in the First Schedule to this act or any other enactment or law.”