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Finance Minister Tasks FIRS To Deliver On N4.957 Trillion Income Target

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja

The Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS got a marching order on Wednesday that there is no room for failure over FIRS’s N4.957 trillion tax target for 2016.

Speaking at the second day of the 2016 Annual Corporate Strategy Retreat of the FIRS in Abuja, Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, gave the orders as she underscored the importance of FIRS’ attainment of its 2016 target of N4.97 trillion to the Federal Government.

Said The Finance Minister: “There is really no room for failure. Really, there is no room for failure. Please ensure you deliver. The nation will depend on FIRS to fund the budget. We need the money to stabilize the economy.

“In addition to your professional pride, and the satisfaction you may derive from working for FIRS as a professional, please note that you are also building the nation by realizing the target and by being professional, honest and dedicated in the way you do your work. This is what the nation needs now.

“This is not a joke. We need everybody to do his/her beat to ensure that everybody contributes to the achievement of the target. I look forward to the excellent ideas that will improve revenue generation as you proceed in this retreat.

She acknowledged that the strides the FIRS has made in the past and the successes it had attained since its new Chairman, Tunde Fowler resumed. “I know your Chairman as an achiever. He did very well in Lagos. Work with him. He will do well here. He is one person who has the welfare of staff on his mind.

When the retreat opened on Tuesday, FIRS Executive Chairman, Tunde Fowler announced FIRS 2016 target of N4.957 trillion. He said the tax agency hopes to earn N3.87 trillion from Value Added Tax, VAT and Companies Income Tax.

The N3.87 trillion from VAT and CIT will be 78.42 per cent of the N4.957 trillion tax revenue targeted for 2016.

“The above target is clearly unacceptable and not a reflection of our capacity. I am particularly not pleased with the very poor VAT collection, which based on my previous experience at the state level in the administration of a tax similar to VAT, should be a high yield and easy to collect tax.

“Even the relatively good performance for CIT is buoyed by the fact that an initiative directly overseen by my office in the last three months of 2015 accounted for a collection of over N122 billion, without which the performance for CIT would have been less than 85 per cent.

FIRS, he said, is collaborating with State Governments, tax consultants, major audit firms, stakeholders in the federal system, including the National Assembly.

He said the tax agency was undertaking a nationwide Value Added Tax and Witholding Tax Monitoring exercise and nationwide taxpayer registration exercise anchored by the FIRS Federal Engagement and Enlightenment Tax Teams, (FEETT).

At Tuesday’s event, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udoma Udo Udoma, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Muhammed Musa Bello, Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, Chairman Senate Committee on Finance, Senator John Owan Enoh and Deputy House Committee on Finance Hon. Austin Chukwurah emphasized the primal role FIRS will play in providing revenue towards realizing Federal Governments’ plan for 2016.

Representatives of key accounting and tax audit firms: KPMG, Ernest Young, Akintola Williams and Delloite, PEDABO, FITC Consulting, PriceWaterHouse Cooper suggested how FIRS could be innovative, increase tax yield, expand tax base and encourage taxpayers to pay their taxes happily.

The minister sat and listened to presentations at the Retreat: Review of 2012-2015 Medium Term Performance/Presentation of the Draft 2016-2020 Medium Term Performance, Optimizing Tax Revenue Collection, The Role of an Efficient Performance Management System

Afterwards, participants broke into groups to examine what FIRS didn’t do right last year, how it could avoid such pitfalls and ideas to realize the target of N4.97 trillion.

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