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The tax committee in Nigeria on the inauguration of the presidency in the West Africa Nation has started work by reiterating the need why the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS should be the only revenue-collecting agency in the country.
The committee led by former Fiscal Policy Partner and Africa Tax Leader at PwC, Mr. Taiwo Oyedele further highlights the urgency it demands to ensure that other government agencies are stripped of the power to collect tax for the government, making the system more streamlined to only one revenue collection agency away from the current scattered arrangement.
According to the committee, considering its legal formation and structure, the FIRS is in the best position to collect and remit taxes for the government.
The team also buttressed that collection by a single agency will reduce the cost of collection which is already eating deep into the limited resources of the government. This streamlined collection proposed is further envisioned to bring about better coordination in the system.
Tax Committee in Nigeria: More Insights Analysis to the Move
Throwing further insight into the projected move, the presidential committee through the chairman has in recent times argued that if other agencies are allowed to go on with tax collection, there is every tendency that they are diverted from their primary role of promoting the economy which does not include revenue collection.
Submissions of the Committee Chairman
In a recent interview on national tv, the chairman gave the following submissions:
Ironically, our cost of collection is one of the highest. And the reason is that we have got all manners of agencies. ” The Federal Government alone has 63 MDAs that were given revenue targets last year.”
“Two consequences arising from this are: firstly, these agencies are being diverted from their primary role of promoting the economy. Secondly, since their primary purpose did not involve revenue collection, they will struggle to gather funds efficiently.
“The FIRS should be the only agency responsible for collecting revenue. This will help the government improve the cost of collection and efficiency.
President Bola Tinubu in July approved the inauguration of a tax committee that would be responsible for various aspects of tax law reforms, fiscal policy design and coordination, harmonisation of taxes, and revenue administration.
It is also important to note that agencies like Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) and several other ministries, departments and agencies (MDA) currently collect trillions from Nigerians and businesses and remit to the federal government.
The following MDAs are expected to be affected if the proposal to streamline succeeds. These agencies are; the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, Nigerian Meteorological Agency, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control Federal Road Safety Corps, and Nigeria Customs Service.
Others include; Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Bank of Agriculture, Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading, Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Federal Reporting Council of Nigeria, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Corporate Affairs Commission, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, National Broadcasting Commission, Joint Admission Matriculation Board, Nigerian Port Authority, National Automotive Design and Development Council Federal Mortgage.
The Committee Projects Big
The inauguration of the team is also coming with a task to boost revenue in the country by setting a tax-to-GDP ratio target of 18 percent over the next three years. This initiative comes in response to the low revenue situation in Nigeria, the most populous African nation.
In the first phase, the committee is expected to propose a series of rapid reforms achievable within 30 days. Subsequently, in the second phase, the team will recommend crucial reform measures within six months. The comprehensive implementation of these reforms is anticipated to occur within a single calendar year.
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