Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Tertiary Education Fund (TETFUND) has tasked the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to improve its collection strategy to surpass the N251 billion set for 2020.
The agency also set a target to generate N500 billion from education tax collection from companies in 2021.
This was disclosed in Port Harcourt at the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, 2020 TetFund/FIRS interactive forum with stakeholders in the South-South Zone, with the theme “New thrust in sustaining the EDT collection during COVID-19 pandemic for effective service delivery of the mandate of the fund.”
Chairman, Board of Trustees, Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Kashim Ibrahim Imam, said TETFUND’s target in 2020 was to generate N277 billion, but expressed optimism that the target could still be achieved despite challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic.
“I challenge the FIRS to do more than they are doing. The figure is N277 billion for 2020. For 2021, the target is N277 billion. That is the target we set for FIRS. As at September, we have collected N235 billion already. That means by December 31, we would have collected the N277 billion target.
“We should be looking at the region of N500 billion. We should not be looking at 10 percent increase on N277 billion, that is not good enough. We should target N500 billion. I will do everything to support you, and I will support and consult for free to ensure we achieve this,” he stated.
Imam commended companies for paying their EDT as and when due, and called on others, who are not up to date, to give attention to EDT, stating that the tax is used for research and educational development in the country.
“I want to challenge companies that have not been paying to make efforts to pay. Education is vital to the development of any country. Tertiary education is responsible for scholarship, research and should be funded. We call on those who have not being paying to please give attention to it. We are challenging FIRS to improves despite COVID-19; and it is achievable.”
He stated that TETFUND target was to reach 50 universities soon, disclosing that the University of Port Harcourt and Lagos State University have 68 ongoing projects each, while University of Lagos has 75 projects.
In his presentation, Executive Chairman, FIRS, Muhammad Nami, promised that the service would surpass the targets set by TETFUND for 2020 and 2021.
Nami, represented by Coordinating Director, FIRS, Ezra Zuberu, said that in 2019, the agency collected N214 billion EDT from companies.
He disclosed that as at October, 2020, it collected N251 billion, adding that it would attain the set target despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic.
“This year, there has been the challenge of COVID-19. But, that has not deterred us. We are working to ensure that the taxes are collected and used accordingly. As at October, 2019, we generated N214 billion. As at October, 2020, we have gathered N251 billion. We will surpass the targets given to us for this year and even for next year,” he stated.