By Etuka Sunday
Nigeria stands at the threshold of a new, transparent, accountable and fair tax regime in which those who make more from the system pay a more equitable share of their income as tax towards the public good, especially in lifting 100 Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years as envisioned by President Muhammadu Buhari.
A clear roadmap to achieving this national imperative was outlined at the weekend in Abuja on the final day of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Management Retreat by paper presenters, discussants and the audience who rubbed minds over the 2019 Finance Act in a deeply stimulating debate.
Activities of the day commenced with a recap of Friday’s proceedings followed by comments and questions session during which all respondents, including FIRS officials, spoke with candor, forthrightness and straight from the heart to diagnose the challenges and proffer solutions towards the implementation of the 2019 Finance Act.
The Lead Paper of the day delivered by a renowned tax expert, Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, titled “Strategies for implementing the New VAT Regime” and the panel discussion which dissipated erroneous public apprehension that the new 7.5% VAT would impact negatively on poor Nigerians as it made clear that the well-to-do would now pay their fair share of taxes in the country unlike before.
Oyedele foregrounded the key to building this fair, equitable tax system in transparency, accountability, integrity, work and objectivity to build confidence in taxpayers and stakeholders in the tax sector.
Towards accomplishing this, the FIRS 2020 Corporate Plan was also unveiled at yesterday’s session and subjected to a robust, on-the-spot debate, according to a statement made available to the media in Abuja by Director of Communications, FIRS, Abdullahi Ismaila.
Capping the day was the official presentation of the new FIRS Organizational Structure as approved by the Service’s Board. Presenting the new organizational structure, Executive Chairman, FIRS, Mr. Muhammad Nami, disclosed that many posts in the organogram were vacant and open to the FIRS officials.
He charged them to distinguish themselves in the shortest possible time by meeting set collection targets in order to take up these available positions of higher responsibilities, stressing that the vacancies are strictly available on measurable merit and performance criteria only.