BY ONYEKA AJUMOBI ONOCHIE
The amazing impact of taxation to Nigeria’s economy cannot be over emphasized, especially in the face of the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic which has thrown up new ways of doing things, Executive Chairman, FIRS, Mr. Muhammad Nami, has stressed.
Mr. Nami noted this today, in Abuja, while fielding questions during a live appearance on the popular morning show, Kaakaki, on Africa Independent Television (AIT) as part of his national public enlightenment on voluntary tax compliance, while educating the citizenry on stamp duty payments.
Urging Nigerians and body corporate in the country to continue to pay their taxes as and when due, Nami said, “although ordinarily, nobody wants to pay tax but payment of tax is necessary. There is never a time that is appropriate for somebody to pay taxes. You can see it all over the world.
“This belief that with oil money we are rich is false. What you see the federal, states and local governments sharing at the Federation Account Meetings monthly comes from the taxes paid by Nigerians or body corporate. At the FAAC meeting in July, the total amount shared among the three tiers of government was N696 billion. From this amount, 30% came from revenue generating-agencies like NNPC and Customs. The remaining 70% which is almost N500 billion, came from tax money that you paid, including stamp duty. Without this money, there will be chaos everywhere. You are looking at issues relating to COVID-19 and the impact it is creating on businesses today. People are actually losing jobs but it would be worse if taxes are not paid.”
FIRS boss noted that there would never be a convenient time for citizens to pay their taxes, adding that bankable Nigerians have been paying stamp duty on their cheque books since the introduction of the stamp duty in 1939, emphasizing that the renewed focus on stamp duty via the recent launch of an inter-ministerial committee on the recovery of stamp duty from 2016 till date has started to yield the required dividends, He further stressed, “Before now, remittance from stamp used to be an average of about N17 billion-N18 billion per year, but currently, it is in the region of N80 billion. I can confirm to you too that a commercial bank which has not been remitting this stamp duty before now, in the month of July alone, remitted about N1.2 billion, evidence that we are not playing about it. We know that oil revenue is not there. We know that we are in a serious economic crisis and the only way to ensure that Nigerians are happy with the government is to ensure that this money deducted from their hard-earned income but which is not remitted, is now remitted to government coffers.”