West Africa’s most prosperous country, Nigeria has a new tax chief on the saddle of the apex revenue authority, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Mr. Zaccheaus Adedeji succeeds Mr. Muhammad Nami. Zaccheus who has PhD in accounting comes with visible federal government affiliation. On his assumption of office on September 18, 2023, he said he has ” audacious aspiration – to surpass Africa’s average tax-to-GDP ratio of 16.5 percent and achieve an impressive 18 percent within three years”
Nigeria currently has 10.86 percent tax-to-GDP, according to former chairman of the FIRS, Mohammad Nami. Nami’s administration raised the figure from six percent to 10.86 percent, a standard Adedeji said he will surpass. “By doing so, we aim to reduce our nation’s reliance on borrowing and ensure financial sustainability,” Adedeji said yesterday during a handover ceremony that marks the transfer of authority from his predecessor to him at the revenue house in Abuja.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, Mr Nami also disclosed that the service is on track to set yet another record in 2023 as it collected over N8.5 trillion (cash) from 1st January to 14th September and have assessed, reconciled and recovered over N4 trillion outstanding tax liabilities and sequestered funds from NNPCL on behalf of the federation.
Nami said the total sum of over N12 trillion is exclusive of amounts invested by our taxpayers under the road infrastructure tax credit scheme and tax implications of waivers by government from January, 2023 to date.
Nami said certainly, the projections by the current government of tax to GDP of 18 percent in another four years is not only realisable but can be surpassed.
On his part, Dr Adedeji promised to go after tax defaulters in his resolve to aggressively drive compliance. “For those who deviate from their tax obligations, rest assured, we will enforce our responsibilities judiciously,” he stated, adding that his administration will implement a robust enforcement model that effectively defers tax evaders while maintaining fairness and transparency in the processes of the service.