BY COBHAM NSA, ABUJA – Despite. the Presidency’s delay in deciding his fate on a renewed tenure, the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Tunde Fowler is upbeat the non-oil sector will produce over 80 per cent of Nigeria’s earnings in the next three years.
He said with the sector’s contribution to the economy rising from 54 per cent in December 2018 to 60 per cent by November 2019, there are positive indicators the future looks quite bright
For him, continuous drop in global oil prices demands that attention must now be focused on the non-oil sector of the economy as a more sustainable revenue source for the country.
Speaking at the Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit in Abuja, Fowler said; “We are moving from oil dependent to non-oil dependent economy. We believe that in the next three years, the non-oil sector is going to contribute at least 80 per cent of the total revenue. You may ask where is that going to come from. It is going to come from Agriculture.”
He listed strategies being adopted by FIRS to enhance revenue collection as: “auto VAT Collection: there is automation of VAT collection in key sectors which facilitates reduction in compliance cost in the long term; there is system to system integration between banks and FIRS; VAT collection in the banking sector went live in January 2017 and from January – October 2019 collected N25.6 billion so far; VAT collection in the Cable TV sector went live in December 2018 and generated N5.1billion so far from January – October 18, 2019.
“Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS) project is a suite of programs that enables the automation of FIRS tax processes. As part of the Service’s objectives to bring high-level efficiency to tax revenue collection and provide first class services to taxpayers, ITAS project introduced SIGTAS, a solution that covers all aspects of tax administration in one integrated system.
“Government Information Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) is an interface linking FIRS to the OAGF for real-time exchange of information and data; State Offices of Accountant General Platform (SAG); Automated the deduction at source and remittance of VAT and WHT from State governments contract payments directly to FIRS’s account and so far collected N13 billion.”
He expressed happiness that deployment on online solutions, is making tax administration more efficient, transparent and convenient, adding that some of the FIRS services which could now be accessed electronically are: taxpayer registration (through e-Registration); payment of Stamp Duties (through e-Stamp Duty); payment of taxes (through online payment: e-tax pay); receiving of electronic receipt after payment of taxes (through e-Receipt); filing tax returns (through e-filing) and online Tax Clearance Certificates (TCC) through electronic Tax Clearance Certificate (e-TCC).
Fowler also touched on various tax incentives in Nigeria, saying Nigeria deserves award on the international scene going by the number of reliefs and incentives it is granting to both local and foreign businesses.
Maintaining that Nigeria clearly has an investment friendly environment, Fowler volunteered; “Sometimes when I look at these tax incentives and reliefs, I feel that Nigeria is the Father Christmas. But that is necessary for the growth of the economy because they attract investors.”
According to him, it is important for foreign investors to consider Nigeria as their first choice given the attractive tax incentives, reliefs and end-price.
A statement signed by FIRS’ Head, Communications and Servicom Department, Wahab Gbadamosi quoted the FIRS boss as saying these attractive tax incentives and reliefs are evident in Personal Income Tax Act; Companies Income Tax Act; Capital Gains Tax Act; Value Added Tax Act; Agriculture; and Foreign investment.
The statement cited the Personal Income Tax (PIT) that boast of tax reliefs as provided by the Personal Income Tax Act (PITA), adding; “There is Tax Credit Allowance. Tax credit allowable against tax payable on income derived from outside Nigeria if brought into the country through government approved channels.
It further said; “Consolidated Relief Allowance. Section 33 (1) of PITA allows a Relief Allowance of N200,000 subject to a minimum tax of 1% of gross income whichever is higher, with the balance taxable in accordance with the Income table in the Sixth schedule to PITA.”