The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) says it is proposing the introduction of road infrastructure tax in Nigeria, to make the informal sector contribute to building a modern society.
Chairman of the revenue agency, Muhammad Nami, disclosed this yesterday while receiving a delegation of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) led by its national president, Chris Isiguzo, in his Abuja office, according to a statement issued by the FIRS.
Nami said the proposed road infrastructure tax to be administered by FIRS, will provide the government with adequate funding for road construction, rehabilitation and maintenance as well as providing the needed security for roads in the country.
“The only way to make the informal sector contribute to building a modern society is by making them pay when they use the roads.
“That is why we are proposing that the government should consider introducing road infrastructure tax in Nigeria,” he added.
In justifying the move, Nami said in many jurisdictions, road users pay for the use of road infrastructure as such it shouldn’t be seen as an additional burden on the citizens because it has the potential of making life better for everyone.
He explained that Nigeria’s economy presently relies heavily on non-oil revenues to discharge its statutory responsibility of paying salaries and providing social amenities to the citizenry.
“Without the tax that you pay, governments at all levels would not be able to fulfil their mandate to the electorate. Tax money also helps to ensure the roads you travel are safe and always in good condition,” he said.
The FIRS boss further said that despite sharp practices by some companies who were in the habit of evading taxes, by shifting their capital and profits to tax havens, and low revenue from petroleum profit tax due to the shortfall in crude oil production among other factors, the tax agency has been putting forward critical reforms that have been yielding positive impact on its operations.
“Adopting technology in tax administration is crucial in improving domestic revenue mobilisation in view of dwindling oil prices in order to avoid falling into debt crisis. It is against this backdrop that the TaxPro-Max became the channel for filing Naira-denominated tax returns effectively from June 7, 2021.
“The TaxPro-Max enables seamless registration, filing of returns, payment of taxes and automatic credit of withholding tax as well as other credits to the taxpayer’s accounts among other features. The technology also provides a single-view to taxpayers for all transactions with the Service,” Nami explained.
He added that the service created 10 Value Added Tax (VAT) regional coordination offices across the country to drive collection of VAT.
The FIRS chairman highlighted that these reforms put in place were already yielding result, including the collection of the sum of N4.2 trillion between January and September, 2021, the successful facilitation of ISO 27001:2013 Certification of the FIRS’ exchange of information centre, and the achievement of 114.66 per cent of the VAT collection target in the first half of the year.
“It will interest you to know that the Service collected a total of N4.2 trillion between January to September, 2021. This feat was achieved as a result of the efficiency and effectiveness of the TaxProMax Solution and intelligence/data we gathered, mined and analysed in the period under review.
“The service successfully facilitated both the mock and external audits for the ISO 27001:2013 certification of the Exchange of Information (EOI) centre, to meet international information security management standards,” he said.
While congratulating Isiguzo for his recent re-election as the national president of NUJ, which he said was a reflection of his uncommon achievements, he urged NUJ members to be constructive in their criticisms of the operations of the service. “You should always confirm or verify sources and accuracy of information,” he told members of the NUJ.
Earlier, the NUJ National President, Isiguzo, said the visit of the union was part of his resolve to engage critical institutions as a key stakeholder in charting a way forward for the country’s collective good.