The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) collected record N4 trillion taxes last year, representing 82.38 per cent of government set target of N4.89 trillion.
The FIRS Chairman, Mr. Babatunde Fowler, disclosed this yesterday during a visit by the members of the Senate and House of Representatives Finance Committees to the palace of the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Babatunde Akiolu.
The visit was part of the FIRS management stakeholders’ retreat holding at Eko Hotels, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Last year revenue generation figure, according to Fowler, marked a 20 per cent improvement on the N3.3 trillion collected in 2016.
Addressing the gathering, which also comprised of FIRS and Joint Tax Board (JTB) bigwigs, Fowler said the appreciable jump in taxes collected in 2017 is an indication that Nigeria can depend less on oil revenue, which has dipped since 2014, following a slump in oil prices on the international market.
Said Fowler: “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.
Akiolu called on all eligible taxpayers to pay their taxes when due, so as to help the government provide infrastructure. He also called on members of the Finance Committee to do the same.
“Our taxes are what the government needs to build schools, provide healthcare, build roads and provide other amenities for our people. I call on you senators and members of the House of Representatives to pay your taxes. Some of you have farms. You must pay taxes on income from your farms,” said Oba Akiolu.
In his welcome address, Fowler said actual revenue collection for 2015 stood at N3.7 trillion, with N2.4 trillion coming from non-oil receipts. Out of the sum of N3.3 trillion collected in 2016, he added, N2.14 trillion came from non-oil receipts.
Fowler added that taxation remains the most sustainable of government revenue sources.
“There cannot be any serious discussion on diversification of the economy without reviewing the tax regime,” he stated.