The Growth Wizards in Nigeria’s Tax Revenue Office!

The Growth Wizards in Nigeria’s Tax Revenue Office!

As I have noted here many times, the most innovative unit in Nigeria’s bureaucracy is the tax agency. I mean, give those men and women credit; they are innovating and moving really fast to hit revenue collection milestones. You are free to call them wizards of finding what belongs to the commonwealth!

According to NAN, Nigeria hit big numbers on tax collection: “The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) says it collected N4.9 trillion as tax revenue in the 2020 fiscal year”. Abdullahi Ahmad, FIRS’ director of communications, made this known in a statement. With that, FIRS hit 98% of its  N5.1 trillion target, very commendable even with the paralysis from covid-19. More so, the non-oil tax collection was 9% better than 2019 numbers. How you wish, we can execute on growth policies with the same precision, and boost economic growth, and accelerate purchasing power of the citizens. Give it to the FIRS, anything they are doing is working!

Meanwhile, the federal government of Nigeria raised N2.36 trillion from the fixed income segment of the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 2020. That was the largest by any entity as the nation hit the market to source capital to fund infrastructure projects and finance fiscal deficits, NAN reports.

The Chief Executive Officer of NSE, Oscar Onyema, said this at the 2020 market recap/2021 outlook event on Tuesday in Lagos.

Mr Onyema said the government accounted for about 92 per cent of total bond issuances on the NSE in a bid to finance fiscal and infrastructure deficits.

He said corporate organisations also leveraged the low yield environment to fund their expansion programmes and to pursue debt refinancing, raising a total of N192 billion in 2020.

Mr Onyema said capital raising activities in the fixed income market increased significantly in 2020.

Possibly, from this money, the government will pay N5,000 monthly to  one million households, over 6 months. That is where I have issues: they are yet to reach my village since 1999 with these free money. I mean, no one from my village has ever collected these freebies. It would be nice to know how these households are selected. Sure – no one desires such money, but yet the distribution should be transparent.

Following the successful activation of the Economic Sustainability Plan’s (ESP) Cash Transfer scheme aimed at delivering financial support to at least 1 million urban-based households using technology, the Buhari administration’s vision of reducing extreme poverty by lifting at least 20 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next two years is now within reach, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

More so, the President of the nation has also challenged FIRS to ensure that foreign companies operating in Nigeria pay their fair share of tax. 

“It is not enough that our citizens and local businesses pay their fair share of taxes. Equally, foreign businesses must also not be allowed to continue to exploit our markets and economy without paying appropriate taxes. Accordingly, the FIRS has my mandate to speedily put all measures in place to fully implement programmes to stamp out Base Erosion and Profit Shifting in all their ramifications and generally automate its tax processes.

“In line with this, I have directed all government agencies and business enterprises to grant FIRS access to their systems for seamless connection. FIRS must ensure that its deployment of technology for automation is done in line with international best practices. In particular, FIRS can borrow a leaf from other countries which have successfully automated their tax processes.’’

Nigeria needs all the money it can get as it would soon need to pay for Covid-19 vaccines: “Nigeria and other African countries will have to pay between $3 and $10 per COVID-19 vaccine dose to access 270 million shots secured by the African Union. This is according to a proposal on the plan prepared by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Reuters reported Wednesday.”

FIRS signpost

Besides Covid-19 vaccines, Nigeria plans to extend teachers’ retirement age. If that becomes law, the retirement age of teachers will move from 60 to 65 years, even as service years move from 35 to 40 years, notes Premium Times. That is a huge cost element as Nigeria plans to keep the experienced teachers, usually more expensive, over replacing them early, with new hires at entry levels.

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