•Says states, LG revenues should be included

By Emma Ujah,  Abuja Bureau Chief , Dirisu Yakubu & Joy Abijah

The Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Mr. Muhammad Nami, has faulted   the computation of the nation’s tax-to- GDP (Gross Domestic Product) which captures only federal government taxes.

According to him, the computation of the ratio which captures only the federal government’s administered taxes did not represent the true picture of the nation’s total revenue.

He spoke at the National Symposium on “Taxation And Challenges Of External Shocks: Lessons and Policy Options for Nigeria,” organised in collaboration with the Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, UDUS, in Abuja, yesterday.

He said:  “One of the recurring issues in national discourse has been Nigeria’s low tax-to-GDP ratio.   

“In as much as the country needs to continually and conscientiously put measures in place to improve such a concern, there is also the need to comprehensively bring all the national and sub-national revenue sources into consideration to properly and appropriately determine the correct and meaningful tax-to-GDP ratio for the country. 

“The current basis for its computation, which mostly focuses on the taxes administered at the federal level and leaving out other sources of revenue being generated by the federal, states and local governments and their MDAs, does not truly reflect its correct standing.

“In order to ensure that all government revenue is included in the fiscal accounts and annual statistics, FIRS will through the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, ensure that all government revenue is included in the accounting for taxes generated, amounts invested by taxpayers in our road infrastructure as a result of executive order 007, tax waivers granted pioneer companies, import and excise duties waived through the operations of the Nigeria Customs and all other revenues generated by MDAs on behalf of the federal, state and local governments in Nigeria. 

“The measures, when implemented, will align Nigeria with global best practice in reporting public finance and ensure a more transparent and more accurate picture of the country’s Tax-to-GDP ratio.”

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr. Boss Mustapha, who noted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy, urged concerted efforts at alternative revenue sources.

Mustapha, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Political and Economic Affairs, Office of the SGF, Andrew Adejoh, said Nigeria must look away from oil revenue in the years ahead.

Similarly, former FIRS Chairman, Mrs. Omoigui-Okauru Ifueko, who was the guest speaker, said shocks should be expected, adding that the nation had no option other than diversify its revenue base.

  “ We have to diversify our revenue base. For states, you can’t depend on FAAC allocation. For FIRS, you can’t depend on multinationals’ revenue. We need to constantly look at ways to diversify our revenue portfolio. At 6 per cent tax revenue to GDP, it’s very low. We have to address the issue,’’ she said.

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