FG urges FIRS to deploy technology to boost its operations

The Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Tuesday urged the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to deploy more technology-based platforms to boost its operations and revenue collection.

Okonjo-Iweala made the call at a workshop on “Promoting Voluntary Compliance in the Power Sector through Automation,” organised by FIRS in collaboration with Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in Abuja.

The Minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs Anastesia Nwaobia, also urged FIRS to widen its collaborative efforts to all sectors of the economy for effective

compliance with regulations.

 She said that the synergy between FIRS and NERC would enable the Service to deploy effective technology-based facility that would enhance tax compliance and overall transactional efficiency in the power sector.

 She said that the workshop would facilitate mutual understanding of processes and systems in the emerging power sector in the country and enhance Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue collection within the sector.  According to her, taxes such as VAT provide an instant opportunity to measure progress in the sector and provide instant yield to the government. “As we may be aware, there is increased focus on growing non-oil tax revenue to enable us improve our overall tax collection and related

indices, such as our tax to GDP ratio.  “We are mindful of the fact that investment into the power sector will have an incubation period, within which income taxes may not provide significant yield.

 “Focus on VAT, therefore, allows the industry to grow without bearing a huge tax burden, and at the same time enables government to realise revenue from the emergent sector,” she said.

“If the economy could grow to become the largest economy in Africa in the face of power sector challenges, more would be achieved with an efficient and self-sufficient power sector,” the minister added.  Earlier, the acting Chairman of FIRS, Alhaji Kabir Mashi, said the service would build on the successes recorded in the privatisation of the power sector to grow the country’s non-oil tax revenue.

 He said FIRS decided to partner relevant stakeholders in the power sector to promote greater understanding of the service’s operations. The chairman said that the workshop was to highlight FIRS’s latest Information Technology collection platforms with respect to the power

and energy sector.

 He also said that the workshop would create opportunity for FIRS “to understand the process flow, the billing system and the handling of payments, among others, in the power sector”.

He said that the service had, through the Joint Tax Board, had similar engagement with the aviation industry, banking sector, states and local governments. (NAN)

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