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Senate panel asks FIRS to suspend tax waivers, says Nigeria lost N17trn in five years

Senate panel asks FIRS to suspend tax waivers, says Nigeria lost N17trn in five years
February 20
10:20 2024

The senate committee on finance has frowned on the N17 trillion loss incurred by the country on tax waivers within the last five years.

Speaking during the 2024 budget presentation of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the committee urged the agency to suspend the tax waivers.

Zacch Adedeji, chairman of FIRS, said the service made a projection of N19.4 trillion as targeted total tax collection for 2024.

In his remarks at the budget presentation session, Sani Musa, chairman of the committee, commended FIRS for the huge tax revenue projection.

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The lawmaker, however, asked Adedeji to substitute the tax waivers with a rebating system.

“Your projection of N19 trillion as total tax collection for 2024 is good when compared to N11.16 trillion achieved in 2023 but the senate believes that you can do more even to the tune of N30 trillion if required measures are put in place,” he said.

“As impressive and encouraging the performance and projections of FIRS are, under your leadership, this committee and by extension, the Senate, on a serious note, urges you to look at the direction of tax waivers largely being abused with attendant and avoidable losses being incurred on yearly basis

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“Available records show that within the last five years, about N17 trillion have been lost by the country to tax waivers.

“It should be suspended and possibly substituted with rebating system.”

Musa emphasised that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited’s fresh N2.7 trillion tax credit be discontinued in order to fund road construction in the country.

FIRS TO CUT TAXES FROM 62 TO EIGHT’ 

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On his part, Adedeji said the FIRS, working with the committee set up by President Bola Tinubu, would cut the number of taxes from 62 to eight in order to protect Nigerians from multiple taxation.

“President Bola Tinubu has seen the issue of multiple taxation as a pool of problems that is why he set up the presidential committee on tax reforms and fiscal policy,” he said.

“As of today in Nigeria, we have 62 types of taxes being collected. The sad news about that is that less than eight out of the entire 62, accounted for 97 per cent of the collection.

“We are already consulting and engaging the state government on it. At the end of the day, we won’t have more than eight or nine taxes that the state and federal government would be collecting.”

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Addressing the implementation of tax credit scheme for road construction by NNPC, the FIRS boss said the N2.5 trillion previously committed to the scheme must be fully implemented before considering any new ones.

“Regarding tax credit, what I said was that the programme is laudable but that the N2.5trillion being spent on it by NNPCL should be exhausted before bringing fresh request,” he said.

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Adedeji added that the N2.7 trillion fresh request being made should not be approved as all NNPC revenue should not be spent on roads since there is a ministry of works.

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