The Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS has unveiled an official contact centre for taxpayers to access services of the agency and resolve identified challenges by speaking with a call centre agent in various Nigerian languages.
The Executive Chairman of FIRS, Mr Muhammad Nami, unveiled the platform in Abuja at a National Symposium on Taxation and Challenges of External Shocks: Lessons and Policy Options for Nigeria
The symposium was organised by FIRS in conjunction with the Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.
“Today’s event is significant because we are also using the opportunity to formally launch the FIRS contact centre.
The decision to hold both events today is strategically intended to walk the talk.
“By launching the contact centre at this symposium, we are showing our commitment to not only hold talks on policy options in enhancing tax administration.
By this we are also putting in place structures to actualise one of our key policy thrusts, which is to build a customer-centric FIRS through effective and efficient taxpayers services,” Mr Nami said.
State of Nigeria’s Revenue
Speaking on the state of the country’s revenue, Mr Nami disclosed that the Service has also collected N4.
9 trillion in tax revenue from January 1 till date, stressing that it would henceforth go through the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to ensure that all government revenue is included in the accounting for taxes generated.
“The FIRS system will now simultaneously indicate the amounts invested by taxpayers in road infrastructure consistent with Executive Order 007.
It would also show the tax waivers granted pioneer companies, import and excise duties waived through the operations of the Nigeria Customs and all other revenues generated by Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on behalf of the Federal, State and Local governments in Nigeria,” he said.
Nami, however faulted the computation of the nation’s tax-to- GDP (Gross Domestic Product) which captures only federal government taxes.
He lamented that 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.
Mr Nami 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.
At the event, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr.
Mustapha noted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy and called for concerted efforts at alternative revenue sources away from oil revenue in the years ahead.
The guest speaker and former FIRS Chairman, Mrs.
Omoigui-Okauru Ifueko, explained that in the face of obvious challenges, 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.
FIRS launches contact centre to address tax related challenges