The chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Babatunde Fowler, has disclosed that the government revenue agency generated a total sum of N4 trillion as tax income in 2017, an increase of 21.7 per cent from N3.3 trillion generated in 2016.
Revealing this during a courtesy visit to the palace of Oba of Lagos State, Rilwan Babatunde Akiolu yesterday, Fowler noted that the agency last year enjoyed support of the Lagos State government, with other government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), in tax collection, as government renewed interest in generating revenue from non-oil sector, following the dwindling global oil prices.
“Just to put on record, with the support of the Finance committee of Senate, House of Representative, we were able to cross N4trillion tax collection for financial year ended 2017. This was an increase of about 21.7 per cent over 2016 figure. In 2016, we were able to generate N3.3 trillion,” Fowler said.
He noted that for the country to move forward, key stakeholders in tax collection must be on the board, explaining that performance of revenue service agency determines the amount of revenue the three tiers of government shares on monthly basis.
While speaking at the Oba of Lagos Palace, he explained that the visit was meant to commemorate the commencement of the annual stakeholders’ retreat that was organised by tax collection agency.
The chairman, Committee on Finance, John Enoh; The Chairman, Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Rafiu Ibrahim, among other Senators and House of Representative members also visited the Oba of Lagos yesterday.
Also, during his opening remarks at the 2018 workshop, with the theme: ‘optimizing tax administration with parliamentary synergy’, Fowler noted that FIRS is discussing on strategies to enhance collaboration with critical stakeholders, particularly the National Assembly.
He said, “In addition to the traditional objective of reviewing past performance and setting targets for the future, we intend to discuss strategies for enhancing collaboration between FIRS and its critical stakeholders, particularly the National Assembly, with aview to explaining details of our operations and ultimately to improve overall organizational performance to achieve 2018’s target in excess of N5 trillion yet to be approved by the Distinguished members of the National Assembly.
“Areas of focus include, but are not limited to, an exposition of the FIRS budgeting process, possible areas of legislative reforms and review of global best practices towards making taxation the pivot of national development”.
He explained that the decline in receipts from oil revenue and the concomitant decline in accruals to states from the federation account has 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.
He said the 2018 retreat is aimed at acting differently and looking beyond the oil and gas sector as the mainstay to government revenue generation.
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