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How FIRS Plans To Realise Its Revenue Target -Fowler

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) says it plans to realize its revenue target for the year through recoveries from defaulting millionaire taxpayers, values added (VAT) and compliance enforcement activities.

The Chairman of FIRS, Tunde Fowler, said in January that the agency’s revenue collection target for 2019 was about N8 trillion.

Mr Fowler told the House of Representatives joint committees on Finance, Appropriations, Aids, Loans and Debt Management Legislative Budget and Research and National Planning and Economic Development that he hopes about N750bn would be realized from about 55,000 defaulting taxpayers during the year.

Mr Fowler, who spoke on the 2019/2021 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), said using banking information to bring non-compliant taxpayers with N1 billion and above turnover to comply about N23.25 billion has been recovered so far.

He also restated that 85% of VAT collected goes to State Governments. He said the exercise has been extended to cover those with turnover of N100 million and above.

“To date, about 500 of the tax defaulters have come forward and have paid about N24 billion. We believe we should be able to go through the 55,000 before the middle of this year.
“In terms of estimates we should be able to be able to generate from this exercise alone about N750 billion.”

Besides, Mr Fowler said the FIRS also expects that the increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) collection between 2015 and 2018 will continue during the year.

He said FIRS is already broadening its VAT collection scope with the adoption of States Accountants Generals (SAG) collection platform, VAT Auto-Collect, integration of the GIFMIS platform with Ministries, Departments and Agencies, (MDAs) and through e-Service payment options.

Out of about N5.3 trillion, a large percentage of the revenue is shared between states and local governments.’ In VAT, there has been a growth of over 44 per cent between 2015 and 2018 at the current rate of 5 percent.

“When you look at Africa as a continent, Nigeria still has the lowest VAT rate. When we look at the items that do not attract VAT, they include basic food items, medicals, and education.
Insisting VAT is not for the poor, Mr Fowler said if one is able to go to a restaurant to eat and drink the same thing one can buy in the open market, then one can pay VAT.

“So, VAT basically is a consumption tax, and those who choose not to go to the open market to buy their food and cook at home are subject to VAT. So, VAT is not a hardship on the low income earners.

“For those who have the ability and the desire to take the choice of going to areas where they have to pay VAT, then they should be allowed to pay VAT,” he added. He said revenue collection by FIRS increased by about 32 per cent from N4.02 trillion in 2017 to N5.3 trillion in 2018.
The FIRS Chairman told the committee that through enforcement activities in respect of defaulting taxpayers from various tax offices, tax audit and investigation assessments, the agency recovered about N28. 51 billion and $77. 83 million.

Also, the FIRS is partnering with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Joint Tax Force (JTF) since 2018 to enhance the fight against tax related economic fraud. As at December 2018, he said about N6. 94 billion and $278,430 had been recovered by the JTF as part of initiatives to boost revenue generation.
To deepen tax revenue collection and expand the nation’s tax net as well as increase the revenue base, Mr Fowler said the FIRS also initiated income tax on property owners in Abuja and Lagos.

He said the initiative, which was initially targeted at property owners in Abuja and Lagos, has so far yielded N4.3 billion, and is being extended to other locations like Oyo and Kaduna states.
“It is important to note that this is not a property tax, but rather the use of the provisions of the law to bring into the tax net companies that own properties but failed to file necessary tax returns and pay appropriate taxes due,” Mr Fowler said.

On tax audit exercise of the Service, the FIRS boss said this will cover both the National Tax Audit (NTA) and the Pioneer Audit (PA). The NTA exercise contributed the sum of N212.79 billion to tax collection in 2018.

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Police arrest wanted Abuja kidnapper, Dahiru after Wike’s N20m Bounty

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Operatives of the Federal Capital Territory Police Command have arrested a wanted notorious kidnapper, Saidu Abdulkadir, popularly known as Dahiru Adamu.

This comes barely three days after the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike placed a N20m bounty on the suspect and one other wanted kidnapper, Abu Ibrahim.

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PHOTOS: FG welcomes Super Eagles with breakfast

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The Super Eagles have arrived in the Federal Capital Territory after their second-place finish at the just concluded African Cup of Nations final.

Players including Alex Iwobi, Ahmed Musa, Victor Osimhen, Ola Aina, Frank Onyeka, Calvin Bassey, Ademola Lookman, Kenneth Omeruo, Joe Aribo and Williams Troost-Ekong were at the welcome breakfast at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.

Members of the coaching crew are also at the breakfast.

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Hardship: We Plan To Establish A National Commodity Board To Crash Food Prices – VP Shettima

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Vice President, Kashim Shettima, disclosed this on Tuesday during a two-day high-level strategic meeting on climate change, food systems and resource mobilization held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to Shettima, the board’s mandate includes assessing and regulating food prices, as well as overseeing a strategic food reserve to stabilize prices of critical grains and other essential food items.

“Our solution to the potential food crisis has become immediate, medium, and long-term strategies. The short-term strategy entails revitalizing the food supply through specific interventions like the distribution of fertilizers and grains to farmers and households to counteract the effects of subsidy removal; fostering collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Water Resources for efficient farmland irrigation, ensuring year-round food production, and addressing price volatility by establishing a National Commodity Board.
“This board will continually assess and regulate food prices, maintaining a strategic food reserve for stabilizing prices of crucial grains and other food items,” Shettima said.

On how the government is handling the security challenges that have prevented farmers from working on their farms, he said:

“I wish to assure you that we will engage our security architecture to protect the farms and the farmers so that farmers can return to the farmlands without fear of attacks.
“We won’t only make it safe for farmers to return to their farms, but we will also ensure the activation of land banks. There are currently 500,000 hectares of already mapped land that will be used to increase the availability of arable land for farming, which will immediately impact food output.”

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