By VICTOR NZE
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has collected a total of N4.03 trillion in 2017 representing 82.38% of government set target of N4.89 trillion. This is also as the service contributed N2.78 trillion to the Federation Accounts, representing 99.5 per cent of the target for 2017 (7.5 per cent more than 2016 performance).
Executive Chairman, FIRS, Mr. Tunde Fowler, disclosed these figures, Thursday, in Lagos at the Palace of Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Babatunde Osuolale Aremu Akiolu 1.
Fowler was in company of members of the House of Representatives, institutional board members of the FIRS and some members of the State Boards of Internal Revenue Service who paid a courtesy visit to the monarch as part of activities in the FIRS Management retreat in conjunction with Stakeholders/National Assembly.
According to Fowler, FIRS’ collection of N4.03 trillion is N720 billion (22 per cent) more than the 2016 total collection figure of N3.305 trillion. The 2017 collection performance exceeded the 2016 collection performance of 78.75 per cent.
An analysis of the collection performance indicates that non-oil accounted for 63 per cent while oil tax accounted for 38 per cent of the total collection. Stamp Duty recorded the most increase in performance with 94 per cent.
“With the support of the National Assembly, your support and that of other stakeholders, FIRS was able to collect over N4 trillion in 2017. This is an increase of over 20 per cent relative to our collection in 2016. We are hopeful that (NASS) going forward, FIRS will be able to fund this country through taxation,” said Fowler.
At the retreat proper, the FIRS Chairman shed light on FIRS’ collection in 2017: “We all recall that beginning from the second half of 2014, there has been a sustained decline in the global prices of oil. Oil Revenue Generated by FIRS in 2014 – 2.45 Trillion; Oil Revenue Generated in 2015 – N1.29 Trillion; FIRS Oil Revenue Generated in 2016 – N1.16 Trillion; FIRS Oil Revenue Generated in 2017 – N1.52 Trillion.
“This trend has had adverse effect on the ability of oil dependent countries to meet their development objectives.
“For us in Nigeria, the decline in receipts from oil revenue and the concomitant decline in accruals to States from the Federation Account have placed many States in a financial quandary to the point where basic obligations such as the payment of employee wages has become a perennial challenge. This is not the first time Nigeria will experience economic slow-down as a result of fluctuations in global oil prices.
“This retreat, and what it hopes to achieve is part of efforts to ensure that we act differently this time around by looking beyond oil as the mainstay of our economy. By putting our hands together in contribution to our set goal, I am confident that we will surpass our past results and we’ll be well on our way to the future we hope to achieve.
Fowler noted that though collection increased by 20 per cent relative to 2016, the Cost of Collection went down to 2.49 per cent in 2017 relative to the 2.60 per cent cost of collection in 2016 and 2.62 in 2015. This, the FIRS Chairman noted, attests to the growing efficiency in collection by the Service and to which the embrace of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) tools contributed.
Earlier, responding, the Oba of Lagos, who disclosed that he pays as much as N350 million in tax every year, told his visitors that Lagos does not discriminate against anybody just as the state will not accept any injustice from any quarters.
The royal father who noted that 60 or 70 per cent of FIRS collection comes from Lagos, said he is sending a letter to the Senate President Bukola Saraki to draw his attention to the 1851 treaty, which the colonial government signed with Oba Akintoye: that three per cent of all taxes collected in Lagos will go to the Oba, while 2 per cent of all exports will go to Oba Akintoye.
“While I am not asking that this be paid to me now, it could be paid to the Lagos State Government,” he said.