The various reforms introduced by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), which included automation in tax collection and cost-cutting measures have been listed as being responsible for the over N5.3 trillion generatedb by the Service in 2018.
An Economist and retired Director in the Federal Civil Service, Dr. Aina Iluyomade, made the remarks on the sidelines of a national workshop on revenue and growth opportunities in the telecom sector held in Lagos recently.
He noted that the sweeping reforms introduced at the FIRS including through the electronic tax pay solution, a self-service channel available on all commercial banks internet banking platforms aimed at complementing the existing manual method were note worthy.
The retiree, however, urged FIRS to sustain its cost-cutting reforms in order to boost revenue and enable the government meet the 2019 budget expectations.
He was however worried that recent World Bank reports have downplayed the economic prospects of third world nations particularly mineral-dependent economies in this financial year.
Iluyomade observed that steady increase in the nation’s tax revenue in the past three years was an indication that the Nigerian economy is equipped to withstand whatever shocks that could come from the international commodity market.
He added that, from the N3.3 trillion FIRS generated in 2016 to N4 trillion in 2017, and over N5.3trillion in 2018 remained commendable, adding that contribution from oil tax averaged less than 40 percent while non-oil taxes accounted for 60 percent.
Analysing the statistics, Iluyomade further attributed FIRS’s improvement in revenue generation to adoption of modern ICT solutions to drive operations even while introducing drastic measures to cut down on the costs of tax collections.
“Whatever it is worth, one must appreciate the innovation made by Mr. Tunde Fowler at the FIRS since he took over. At a time of economic contraction caused by a severe recession experienced by the country in 2015, it is a miracle that the service has been able to nearly double revenue in the past three years.”
The former top bureaucrat also cited aggressive cut-cutting measures in operations as a factor responsible for the steady increase.
“From my findings, the cost of chasing revenue has been cut down drastically by Fowler. You know before he came on board, the practice was to release lump sum of money for hundreds of offices maintained by FIRS across the federation in the name of operations monthly