It is a necessary initiative that FIRS is enforcing tax collection from successful billionaires with annual turnover of over 1 Billion Naira and Zainab Ahmed of Nigeria’s Ministry of Finance seeks to ensure the growth and success of this necessary initiative. Within an analytical frame, it is very unfortunate that this enforcement only started with Buhari’s era of clamping down on corruption, Previously, the most successful billionaires have greatly, unjustly escaped paying taxes due to the government. Even worse, taxes collected were heavily misappropriated for example, Dapo Apara revealed the significant tax scam hoovering over Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Alpha Beta Consulting Company. Ensuring successful businesses pay tax is a must. Ensuring the tax is used for the growth and development of the nation is a greater, absolute must. Nigeria’s current minister of finance seems to be making the right moves in mandating checks and balances around the country’s finances.
During her meeting with Tunde Fowler at FIRS, Aisha Ahmad, Nigeria’s new acting minister of finance (since Kemi Adeosun resigned) made the following remarks to all in attendance at the meeting:
“The FIRS is a very important agency of government. I want to underscore this importance. The FIRS is one of the first agencies in the Ministry of Finance that I am meeting. The Federal Government’s Medium Term Plan is hinged on diversifying the economy away from oil revenues to non-oil revenues. And the report that the executive chairman of the FIRS has presented indicates that the diversification effort is working. This is reflected in the contribution of non-oil revenues over the last three years.
“I am happy that we have a team in the FIRS that is not only expanding the revenue base, but also significantly improving tax collection and taking tax offices closer to the people, and making it easier for the people to pay their taxes by online and e-tax payment procedures that you have undertaken. And I am sure, from what I have heard today, that you would continue with all these processes.”
She added, “I am also glad that you are increasing cooperation with several agencies like the EFCC, ICPC and Nigeria Customs Service. This is important because the directive from the President on anti-corruption involves cooperation within yourselves as well as with anti-corruption agencies. It makes a lot of sense to prioritise tax collection to larger categories, from the big ones to other ones.
“The effort you are making in Abuja, Lagos and Osun (on payment of taxes on property using turnover as basis for assessment) is a commendable one and I encourage you to maintain the tempo in generating tax revenues.”