The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has claimed that the Federal Government would be hampered in funding the N16.9 trillion 2022 budget because Nigerians were not faithful in tax remittances.
Chairman of the agency, Muhammad Nami, in a television interview, yesterday, said only N4.2trillion was collected as taxes in nine months, a figure he said, was insufficient to fund the budget presented to the National Assembly last week by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said were Nigerians tax payers acted as envisaged, the country would have generated sufficient funds to execute the N16.9 trillion budget.
He said government was having challenges with the oil sector, and that from the N4.2 trillion collected in nine months, N3.3 trillion came from non-oil related taxes, while the balance N950 billion came from oil related taxes.
“What is happening now is an issue of attitude and a reflection of what we are. Nobody in the oil or non-oil sector wants to pay tax. We do know that there are challenges in the oil sector, but that will open up in another discussion. Because of our tax paying culture, we haven’t been able to get much from some of these companies, but with the technology that we are going to deploy, we will be able to monitor everything these companies do. We will do tax assessment, collection, accounting and also enforce tax administration, that is one of the major breakthroughs we got from the 2020 Finance Act, so that going forward, every company would be able to pay the right taxes.
“We now have the power to monitor tax incentives and monitor businesses that will operate in export processing zones. We have generated N3.3 trillion from non-oil taxes alone, and if all things were equal, the oil taxes used to account for over 55 to 60 per cent of the total taxes that FIRS used to collect in the past. If everything were to be okay, we should have been talking about N7 trillion already because if the non-oil is already at N3.2trillion and it used to be about 40 per cent in a year in some cases, and if it is at a level we want it to operate, Nigeria would have been better for it.
“Above all, this is a confirmation of the fact that Nigerians do not like paying taxes. If we were to be paying taxes, we would have been able to generate enough money to be able to fund a N16.9 trillion budget that was submitted to the National Assembly last week by the President. Why did I say Nigerians are not paying taxes, and the other sector is not cooperating at a level that we ordinarily should be? I said at the budget presentation, Saudi Aramco, the NNPC equivalent in Saudi Arabia, generated over $50 billion, which is over N20 trillion far more than we require to fund a budget of over 200 million people,” he said.
He also revealed that the FIRS will pay more attention to taxes that it claimed have been ignored for long.