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FIRS Rakes N4.03trn In 2017, Surpasses 2016 Collection By N720bn —Fowler

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) collected a total of N4.03 trillion in 2017 representing 82.38% of government set target of N4.89 trillion.

This is N720 billion or  22 percent more than the 2016 total collection figure of N3.305 trillion, which itself exceeded the 2016 performance by 78.75%.

Executive Chairman, FIRS, Mr. Tunde Fowler disclosed the collection figures on Monday in Lagos at the historical ‘Idugaran’, the palace of the His Royal Highness, Oba Rilwan Babatunde Osuolale Aremu Akiolu I.

According to a statement from FIRS, Fowler revealed the figures during the visit by members of the House of Representatives, institutional board members of the FIRS and some members of the State Boards of Internal Revenue Service to seek the royal father’s blessing and seek for his wise advice.

The FIRS Management retreat was in conjunction with Stakeholders/National Assembly.

Said Fowler: “With the support of the National Assembly, your support and that of other stakeholders, FIRS was able to collect over N4 trillion in 2017. This is an increase of over 20 per cent relative to our collection in 2016. We are hopeful that (NASS) going forward, FIRS will be able to fund this country through taxation.

Going back memory lane, the FIRS Chairman recalled that when he was the Lagos Internal Revenue Service, LIRS Executive Chairman in Lagos, the Oba played an important role in tax collection. Apart from supporting LIRS morally, Fowler recalled that Oba Akiolu mandated the White cap chiefs to accompany LIRS officials to key markets and most parts of Lagos to sensitise the people on tax collection.

When the retreat opened, the FIRS Chairman shed light on FIRS’ collection in 2017: “We all recall that beginning from the second half of 2014, there has been a sustained decline in the global prices of oil. Oil Revenue Generated by FIRS in 2014 – 2.45 Trillion; Oil Revenue Generated in 2015 – N1.29 Trillion; FIRS Oil Revenue Generated in 2016 – N1.16 Trillion; FIRS Oil Revenue Generated in 2017 – N1.52 Trillion

“This trend has had an adverse effect on the ability of oil-dependent countries to meet their development objectives.

“For us in Nigeria, the decline in receipts from oil revenue and the concomitant decline in accruals to States from the Federation Account has placed many States in a financial quandary to the point where basic obligations such as the payment of employee wages have become a perennial challenge. This is not the first time Nigeria will experience economic slow-down as a result of fluctuations in global oil prices.

“This retreat, and what it hopes to achieve is part of efforts to ensure that we act differently this time around by looking beyond oil as the mainstay of our economy. By putting our hands together in contribution to our set goal, I am confident that we will surpass our past results and we’ll be well on our way to the future we hope to achieve.

Fowler noted that though collection increased by 20 per cent relative to 2016, the Cost of Collection went down to 2.49 per cent in 2017 relative to the 2.60 per cent cost of collection in 2016 and   2.62 in 2015. This, the FIRS Chairman noted, attests to the growing efficiency in the collection by the Service and to which the embrace of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) tools contributed.

“Chairman House Committee on Finance Hon. Babangida Ibrahim thanked Oba Akiolu for always supporting the collection of taxes under Fowler in Lagos and now at the national level.

His counterpart at the Senate, Distinguished Senator John Owan Enoh spoke along the same lines of plaudits for the Oba for his support. Enoh thanked the “Now that he is on a and higher assignment, Enoh was hopeful that the Oba will continue to support him. We leave here with the hope that other traditional rulers will take lead from Lagos and support tax collection.

“You have demonstrated deep knowledge of Nigeria. We are happy that someone like you sits on the revered throne of Lagos. I also bring you greetings from the Distinguished Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

“I want to congratulate you on preserving and elevating the culture of Lagos State. It is very interesting to hear the Executive Chairman commended you on matters of taxation. We have to look at how much the traditional institution can come in handy in our national development. I would like to take this opportunity to extend our good wishes to the entire people of Lagos State.”

HRH, the Oba of Lagos told the visitors, “Ask and it shall be answered, knock and it shall be opened, seek and it shall be found. The Almighty gives power to whom he wills. I swear to you that since the day I swore on the Holy Quran when I was installed on this throne I have not taken any nonsense from anyone.

“I commend the 8th Assembly for not being a rubber-stamp assembly. God has something better in store for this country. By the grace of Allah our President will deliver. Nigeria now needs good governance that will deliver development to the people. FIRS has collected N4 trillion and they will collect more in the future. The legacy that Tunde Fowler has made in Lagos is still felt but you have more work to do

Oba Akiolu noted that Lagos does not discriminate against anybody just as the state will not accept any injustice from any quarters.

The royal father who noted that 60 or 70 per cent of FIRS collection comes from Lagos, said he is sending a letter to Senate President Bukola Saraki to draw his attention to the 1851 treaty, which the colonial government signed with Oba Akintoye: that three per cent of all taxes collected in Lagos will go to the Oba, while 2 per cent of all exports will go to Oba Akintoye. “While I am not asking that this is paid to me now, it could be paid to the Lagos State Government”.

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