Uche Usim, Abuja
In its efforts to swell non-oil revenue, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered Ministries Departments Agencies (MDAs) like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Nigerian Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and others to readily supply the Joint Tax Board (JTB) and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) with relevant information about the financial status of individuals and companies so as to tax them accordingly.
The Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who made the disclosure in Abuja on Monday at the official flag-off of the new National Taxpayers Identification Number (TIN) Registration System and Consolidated Tax Database said the JTB and FIRS require the fullest cooperation of the MDAs, especially in the release of the relevant individual records, to succeed.
According to him, “the ultimate outcome is increased revenues for governments and the ease of doing business for business owners, who must be registered and have an identification number. This helps to fund investments in infrastructure, social investment, human capital development and more.
The vice president said for tax systems to function optimally, they have to be aware of important statistics such as numbers of eligible individuals and businesses, volume of economic activity, and then design and implement strategies to take advantage of these available data are also crucial.
“This new TIN registration system will utilize existing data from a variety of authorized identity management agencies, and help build a database that is reliable and verifiable”, the VP stated.
He said it was vital tax agencies sourced information and data to work with by enjoying the full cooperation of establishments meant to supply such data.
He said with the launch of the new package, all data from all MDAs are collated at a central system of the JTB/FIRS.
“With this, we now have information from multiple sources; data from NIMC, CAC and others.
“The ultimate outcome is increased revenues for governments and the ease of doing business for business owners, who must be registered and have an identification number. This helps to fund investments in infrastructure, social investment, human capital development and more. This new initiative is in line with the ERGP and other programmes needed to power our economy.
“Increased tax automation will boost businesses and revenue for the government. It will also help reduce corruption. It’ll boost the bottom line of charged with revenue collection. “It will bring about bigger local businesses.
“The Nigerian business environment is better with the innovation being driven by FIRS”, the Vice President said.
Also speaking at the event, the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Chairman, JTB, Tunde Fowler, said tax-revenue administration in the 21st century has evolved into a systematic and deliberate process that is underpinned by the availability of accurate and reliable data.
According to him, during the first tenure of the Buhari administration, there was an expansion of the nation’s tax base from 10 million to 20 million taxpayers with the potential for an increase of up to 45 million before the end of the third quarter of 2019.
“A growth in the IGR of States by over 46.11% from N800.02 billion in 2016 to N1.16 trillion in 2018;
A growth of FIRS collections by 53.81% from N3.30 trillion in 2016 to
N5.32 trillion in 2018; with the 2018 total collection of N5.32 trillion being the highest collection ever in the history of the FIRS, while Non-Oil revenue, with a collection of N2.85 trillion accounted for about 54% of total revenue collection;
“For the first time in the history of Nigeria, the Federal Government paid all outstanding PAYE tax liabilities owed by Federal MDAs from 2002 to 2016, totalling about N135 billion to the various State Governments. We hope that this gesture will encourage State Governments to also promptly remit all Withholding Taxes and VAT due to the Federation Account”, Fowler stated.
On the benefits of the new initiative, he said; “We are confident that the new system will add immense value to tax-revenue administration in the country, not only in terms of processes and procedures, but in terms of efficiency and ensuring a coordinated and systematic approach towards managing revenue generation as well as tax information sharing between and among tax authorities both within and outside the country.
“The new system also provides immense benefits to the taxpayers. The consolidated database apart from providing a unique identity to the taxpayer also facilitates ease of compliance. It limits the incidence of double taxation and is a prerequisite for a number of transactions such as sale and purchase of immovable property, registration of vehicles, applications for plot of land, import and export licence, registration as a contractor, entry visas among others. Ultimately, the system promotes the ease of doing business for both individuals and corporate bodies.
“It entails deliberate and strategic planning initiatives, well informed and adequately equipped tax-revenue managers who drive the process both on and off the field.
This new reality drives the desire by the JTB to ensure that the identification of individuals and corporate bodies in Nigeria is achievable. It is not only important that these records are available, it is equally important that the records are credible and reliable and that they are accessible under a secure environment, online real-time.
“The role that data plays in today’s world cannot be overemphasized, and for the revenue potential of the country to be maximally harnessed, it is essential that credible and reliable data is available for use. Such records are also essential to facilitate the ease of doing business and for the nation to achieve its overarching economic objectives in line with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP)”, he explained.
Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary of the Joint Tax Board (JTB), Mr Oseni Elamah said the new product being 100 per cent online realtime endeavour has become necessary to ensure that the process of domestic tax-revenue administration meets up to the developing trends.
According to him, the new TIN registration system and its consolidated database of individual and corporate taxpayer records have been designed to become the foundation on which the nation’s automated tax administration system is built on.
“The new system leverages on existing data from relevant identity management agencies to reduce the burden of multiple registration of taxpayers, promote the ease of doing business and paying taxes. It also ensures seamless integration and exchange of information amongst the various tax authorities within and outside Nigeria the country, as well as with other authorised third-party organisations, agencies and institutions via web service. The main benefits of the new System are that it is innovative, provides confidence and inspires transparency,” he explained.