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FIRS generates N4.9trn in 2020 as figure negates finance ministry claims

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Oba Darasimi

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has announced it generated ₦4.9 trillion for the year 2020 a figure that negates the one presented by the Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmed.

According to the FIRS Chairman, Muhammad Nami, the figure represents approximately 98% of the national tax target of N5.076 trillion set for the agency by the Federal Government.

But Ahmed had said during a budget presentation in Abuja last week that N3.94 trillion in the 2020 fiscal year.

Speaking during a press conference in Abuja,  Nami listed key sectors such as the banking, telecommunications and the ICT as major contributors to the feat.

“The conscientious taxpayers in the country and dedicated members of staff of the FIRS nationwide for their support and devotion to work which made this performance possible despite the numerous obstacles encountered by the Service in 2020,” Nami said.

“The FIRS is optimistic this current fiscal year 2021 will be better than in 2020. We shall perform exceedingly well given that our Service reforms are expected to yield greater dividends, especially as different parts of tax administration are being automated.

According to the FIRS boss, “We are also optimistic that exploration activities will improve in the oil sector and increase the prospect of higher tax revenue from the sector.

“Similarly, the ongoing reforms by the Service together with increased stakeholder collaborations will brighten the prospect of improved voluntary compliance and consequently higher tax revenue generation for the country this year and beyond.”

He said that the near 100% collection feat was all the more remarkable when placed against the backdrop of the debilitating effects of COVID-19 on the Nigerian economy.

Figures released by the service showed that the non-oil tax collection was 109% in 2020, which is 9% higher than the previous year.

The FIRS boss also revealed that the Federal Government generated N3.94 trillion in the 2020 fiscal year, adding that the figure represents about 73 per cent of the target for the 2020 fiscal period.

This implies that out of the projected revenue target of N5.39 trillion for 2020, the government could only achieve N3.94 trillion, thus leaving a revenue shortfall of N1.45 trillion.

The minister said while oil revenue outperformed its target, the non-oil revenue performance was not too impressive.

According to the minister, the Federal Government earned N1.52 trillion from oil revenue representing an over performance of 157 per cent, while non oil tax revenue was N1.28 trillion, which was about 79 per cent of target.

She added that Companies Income Tax (CIT) and Value Added Tax (VAT) collections were N673.22 billion and N192.66 billion, representing 82 per cent and 68 per cent respectively of the pro-rata revised targets for the period.

Ahmed put the Customs revenue at N410.21 billion which is about 79 per cent of revenue performance, adding that other revenues also contributed N993.73 billion to revenue generation.

The Minister blamed the revenue underperformance on the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic, adding that Customs revenue was affected by trade slowdown caused by COVID-19.

 

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