Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Modibbo Hamman Tukur, has credited the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) with revolutionizing tax administration in the country. Tukur made his view known during a courtesy visit to Mr. Tunde Fowler, FIRS Chairman, in Abuja, at the weekend.
According to Tukur, FIRS’ contribution to the country’s revenue through tax is almost at par with oil revenue, adding that Fowler’s exploits, in addition to what he inherited, are revolutionary. The NFIU boss also promised that tax compliance will soon become a key constituent of every criminal investigation by NFIU.
“The FIRS has been a partner of the NFIU. Our MoU with you underscores the importance of the relationship and how we all feel for this country. In our own record, there is no government agency that recorded so much transition and changes since the advent of this democracy like the Federal Inland Revenue Service. What happened at the FIRS is a complete revolution and it fell in line with the expectation of every democratic society where the citizens are always expected to fund the existence of the community and finance existence of the government and its own welfare and security apparatus. And that is exactly what the FIRS is doing today,” said Tukur.
He noted that since 2008, the FIRS has benefited from repositioning more than any other government agency. This, he explained, is evidenced by the increase in revenue collection figures.
“So today, the FIRS is either contributing to the economy better than the oil industry or you are contributing at an equal rate with the oil sector even if you factor in the forex aspect of it. That is very encouraging because the more the Internally Generated Revenue grows farther, the more the oil sector will be winding down,” reasoned Tukur.
The NFIU boss stated that Fowler inherited a foundation at FIRS, but has built a stronger one within the last four.
“Having a public instrument is good but what is more important is sustainability. The FIRS revenue is N5.3trillion. If by tomorrow, the figure starts going down, then you know that there is a problem. But you have been able to sustain what you inherited and built on it,” Tukur stated.
Fowler noted that the partnership between NFIU and FIRS will increase tax revenue generation in Nigeria.
“We often tell people jokingly that we are not policemen, but regardless of where the money comes from, we believe it should be taxed and I think that was one of the issues at the last meeting in the United Nations (UN). We have had people talk about transfer pricing, money laundering; people talk about different revenue or incomes but the question that will be asked is that all revenues, regardless of the heading they come under, have to be taxed,” said Fowler.
Fowler promised that the FIRS will continue to partner with relevant stakeholders to ensure increase in revenue generation and enhance tax administration.
He commended the Presidency, Ministry of Finance, leadership of the NFIU and other stakeholders for their contributions to the success so far recorded by the FIRS.