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Nigeria to surpass Africa’s average tax-to-GDP ratio in three years, says Zacch Adedeji

Nigeria to surpass Africa’s average tax-to-GDP ratio in three years, says Zacch Adedeji
September 19
12:54 2023

Zacch Adedeji, the new acting executive chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), says his target is to increase Nigeria’s tax-to-gross domestic product (GDP) to 18 percent in three years.

Adedeji spoke on Monday during a handover ceremony at the FIRS headquarters in Abuja.

He said efforts would be made to reverse the “unhealthy fiscal system”, adding that his goal is to nurture voluntary tax compliance by creating an environment where taxpayers willingly perform their civic duty.

The acting executive chairman said Nigeria spends 96 percent of its revenue on debt servicing, but stressed that the trend would be reversed soon.


“We cannot afford to delay; we must act decisively to reverse this ugly trend. Our aspiration is audacious — to surpass Africa’s average tax-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio of 16.5 percent and achieve an impressive 18 percent within three years,” he said. 

“By doing so, we aim to reduce our nation’s reliance on borrowing and ensure financial sustainability. 

“Our overarching goal is to nurture voluntary tax compliance by establishing a modern, dependable tax system that garners the trust and admiration of all stakeholders.


“Through this, we hope to create an environment where taxpayers willingly fulfil their civic duties.

“A fundamental aspect of our mission is to elucidate to taxpayers why their civic duty matters. We are committed to simplifying our tax system, making it accessible and comprehensible, thereby facilitating voluntary tax payments and fostering a sense of civic responsibility.”

Adedeji also warned that Nigerians who evade their tax obligations will not be spared, saying the agency would enforce its responsibilities judiciously.

“We will implement a robust enforcement model that effectively deters tax evasion while maintaining fairness and transparency in our processes,” he said.


Adedeji received the handover report from the outgoing FIRS chairman, Nami.

Adedeji also applauded Mohammed Nami, former chairman of FIRS, saying his tenure elevated the standards and commitment to excellence.

The acting executive chairman promised that under his watch, FIRS would place innovation, technology, and fresh ideas at the forefront of its operations.

“This strategic focus will empower us to enhance efficiency, fortify against revenue leaks and bolster coordination and accountability within our organisation,” he said.

“Quality data will be the cornerstone of our operations, enabling us to measure our progress, make informed decisions, and maintain the highest standards of accountability. We recognise that data-driven strategies are essential to our success.”


Adedeji also pledged to maintain an open-door policy, actively engaging with stakeholders to collaboratively construct a tax administration that Nigerians can take pride in and build an institution that “serves as a beacon of excellence.”



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