Nduka Chiejina, Abuja
THE Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Tunde Fowler on Tuesday said the country will earn at least 80 per cent of her revenues from the non-oil sector of the economy in the next three years.
Fowler who spoke at the Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit inAbuja noted that the non-oil sector contribution to the economy has risen to 60 per cent this month from 54 per cent it was in December last year.
He also noted that the continuous drop in the oil prices is a sign that attention should be focused on the non-oil sector of the economy which he said is more sustainable.
“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 said.
He said the strategies that FIRS is adopting to realise improved revenue collection are auto value added tax (VAT) collection, adding that there is automation of VAT collection in key sectors which facilitates reduction in compliance cost in the long term. He said there is system to system integration between banks and FIRS, adding that VAT collection in the banking sector went live in January 2017 and from Jan-Oct 2019 collected N25.6bn so far; VAT collection in the Cable TV sector went live in Dec 2018 and generated N5.1bn so far from Jan-Oct 18 2019.
He said: “Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS) project is a suite of programmes that enables the automation of FIRS tax processes. As part of the Service’ 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 (office of the Accountant-General of the Federation) 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 N13billion.”
He said the deployment on online solutions, is making tax administration more efficient, transparent and convenient.
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 who also spoke on various tax incentives in Nigeria said the country needed award on the international scene on the number of reliefs and incentives it grants to both local and foreign businesses.
“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,” Fowler said.
He urged foreign investors to consider Nigeria as their first option because of attractive tax incentives and reliefs and attractive end-price.
Fowler said there are attractive tax incentives and reliefs in Personal Income Tax Act, Companies Income Tax Act, Capital Gains Tax Act, Value Added Tax Act, agriculture and foreign investment.