By Etuka Sunday
Nigeria is losing about $10 billion of tax through illicit profit shifting by multinational corporations operating in the country, which otherwise would have been applied to critical infrastructure development by the three tiers of government.
Executive Chairman (EC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Muhammad Nami, disclosed this on Friday in Abuja at the start of the Service’s 2020 Management Retreat held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel.
Quoting the African Union Illicit Financial Flow Report, Nami said: “Africa is losing $50 billion through profit shifting by Multinational Corporations and about $10 billion of this amount is from Nigeria alone.”
To block this and other identified tax avoidance schemes by individuals and corporate organizations, Nami disclosed that he has launched a comprehensive, ongoing tax collection reform process
“anchored on four cardinal pillars of rebuilding FIRS’ institutional framework; robust collaboration with stakeholders; building a customer or taxpayer-centric Institution; and a making the FIRS data-centric institution.”
According to a statement made available to the Media by Director, Communications, FIRS, Abdullahi Ismaila, the FIRS Chairman, his board and team have also set a target of improving the Service’s performance over the next four years by a “minimum target of $5 million staff-to-revenue- ration and a 10% tax-to-GDP ratio.”
Showing that the FIRS is gradually weaning Nigeria off its dependence on oil revenue, Nami disclosed that non-oil taxes “accounted for 60% contribution to the total collection” of taxes in 2019.
Projecting into this year, Nami stated: “For the year 2020, we have a target of N8.5 trillion. This is broken down into oil tax of N3.7 trillion and non-oil taxes target of N4.8 trillion.”
The FIRS chief assured that the Service would play its “strategic role in the nation’s political economy, including supporting the actualization of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s commitment of moving the country up on the Ease of Doing Business Ranking and taking 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over the next 10 years and rebuilding Nigeria’s critical infrastructure.”