Uche Usim, Abuja
The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Muhammad Nami, on Monday underscored the importance of paying taxes, disclosing that N500 billion out of N696 billion shared by the three tiers of government as July allocation come from collecting taxes and stamp duties.
Speaking at a television programme, Nami maintained that tax revenues generated by the FIRS have kept the Nigerian economy going despite the aching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.
The FIRS boss urged Nigerians and corporate bodies in the country to continue to pay their taxes as and when due.
‘Nobody wants to pay tax but payment of tax is necessary. There is never a time that is appropriate for somebody to pay taxes. You can see it all over the world,’ Nami said.
‘This belief that with oil money we are rich is false. What you see the federal, states and local governments sharing at the federation account meetings monthly comes from the taxes paid by Nigerians or body corporate. At the FAAC meeting in July, the total amount shared among the three tiers of government was N696 billion. From this amount, 30% came from revenue generating-agencies like NNPC and Customs. The remaining 70% which is almost N500 billion, came from tax money that you paid, including stamp duty. Without this money, there will be chaos everywhere. You are looking at issues relating to COVID-19 and the impact it is having on businesses today. People are actually losing jobs but it would be worse if taxes are not paid.’
Nami stressed that there would never be a convenient time for citizens to pay their taxes, stating that bankable Nigerians have been paying stamp duty on their cheque books since the introduction of the stamp duty in 1939.
He disclosed that the renewed focus on stamp duty via the recent launch of an inter-ministerial committee on the recovery of stamp duty from 2016 till date has started to yield dividends.
In his words: ‘Before now remittance from stamp [duties] used to be an average of about N17 billion and N18 billion per year. Currently, it is in the region of N80 billion. I can confirm to you too that a commercial bank which has not been remitting this stamp duty before now in the month of July alone remitted about N1.2 billion, so we are not playing about it. We know that oil revenue is not there. We know that we are in a serious economic crisis and the only way to ensure that Nigerians are happy with the government is to ensure that this money deducted from their hard-earned income but which is not remitted is remitted to government coffers.’