Nigeria, Do Not Over-Celebrate This Tweet!

Nigeria, Do Not Over-Celebrate This Tweet!

We saw the tweet: “Executive Chairman, FIRS, Muhammad Mamman  Nami says the agency has raked in ?4.178T revenue out of d ?4.239T target it set for itself -News. Meanwhile, @MBuhari exempted those on minimum wages & those who run small businesses from paying tax That’s more money in their pockets”.

Largely, many would think that the FIRS has over-executed, hitting close to 99% of its target. I do not buy it because anyone could set his or her target and hit it. In 2018, FIRS collected N5. 320 trillion., well ahead of anything they are achieving in 2020, and in that year, they set a goal of hitting N8 trillion for 2019. So, celebrating N4.2 trillion so far in 2020 does not mean that FIRS has been magical.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, re-wrote Nigeria’s collection history in 2018, when it announced today, that it has collected a total of N5. 320 trillion.

Tunde Fowler, Executive Chairman, FIRS, who made the announcement in Lagos today at a retreat: “Parliamentary Support for Effective Taxation of the Digital Economy” said it is targeting N8 trillion for 2019.

The N5.320 trillion collection is the highest revenue ever generated by FIRS in history. The highest in FIRS was N5.07 trillion generated in 2012.

Sure, I do not know when this target was set. But I do think it ought to be done before January 2020, and if that is the case, why was it so low to start with? In 2019, they were bold even though they can short: “The total revenue of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for the 2019 fiscal year fell below target, as a total of N5 trillion was generated against its N8 trillion target for the year”. Why set a target of N4.23 trillion for 2020 , possibly before the pandemic hit, when in 2019, you hit N5 trillion?

The government should not be celebrating the 99% achievement as it does not tell the whole story despite the pandemic. And that means when they hit the 100% by Dec 31 2020, we need to put all in context.

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