Tunde Fowler (R) and Deputy Governor of Kwara State, Kayode Alabi. (Photo from FIRS)

Tunde Fowler (R) and Deputy Governor of Kwara State, Kayode Alabi. (Photo from FIRS)

Nigeria: States’ IGR Increased by 46.11% in four years—Fowler

The capacity of the 36 states in Nigeria to generate revenue internally has increased by an aggregate 46.11 percent, the Chairman, Joint Tax Board,  JTB and Executive Chairman,  Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Tunde Fowler has said.

Fowler said this happened under him as a result of some efforts of  his organisation  and its stakeholders.

Speaking in Ilorin, Kwara State in the North-Central Nigeria, Fowler said that the  states have recorded a leap in from “N800 billion in  in 2016 to  N1.16 trillion in 2018  some  46.11 per cent  under four years” in IGR.

A statement from FIRS also notes that Nigeria’s tax database has increased from 10 million to 20 million, with a target of 45 million taxpayers nationwide by December 2016

Fowler spoke in Ilorin today at the North Regional launching of the New Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) Registration System and consolidated national tax database programme.

Fowler noted that the new system also provides immense benefits to the taxpayers. “The consolidated database apart from providing a unique identity to the taxpayer also facilitates ease of compliance. It limits the incidence of double taxation and is a prerequisite for a number of transactions such as sale and purchase of immoveable property, registration of vehicles, applications for plot of land, import and export licence, registration as a contractor, entry visas among others. Ultimately, the system promotes the ease of doing business for both individuals and corporate bodies.

Fowler listed the achievements of the JTB his tenure to include the following:

# The expansion of the tax base from 10 million to 20 million taxpayers with the potential for an increase of up to 45 million before the end of the third quarter of 2019; A growth in the IGR of States by over 46.11% from N800.02 billion in 2016 to N1.16 trillion in 2018; A growth of FIRS collections by 53.81% from N3.30 trillion in 2016 to N5.32 trillion in 2018; with the 2018 total collection of N5.32 trillion being the highest collection ever in the history of the FIRS, while Non-Oil Revenue, with a collection of N2.85 trillion accounted for 53.63% of total revenue collection;

# Payment by the Federal Government of the total sum of N135.8 billion

representing all outstanding PAYE tax liabilities owed by Federal MDAs to States from 2002 to 2016; with a total of N31.08 billion paid to the States in the North-Central Geopolitical Zone. We are confident that this gesture by the Federal Government will encourage State Governments to also reciprocate and promptly remit all Withholding Taxes and VAT due to the Federation Account;

#. A positive movement during the same period by Nigeria up 25 points in the Tax Administration Section of World Bank ‘Ease of Doing Business’. This positive progression is also reinforced by the recent listing of Nigeria as one of the ‘top 20 improvers in Doing Business for the year 2020’ by the World Bank. We expect that more positive country reports will be released by the time the full report by the World Bank is released in October 24th, 2019

The TIN Registration Go-Live event which has brought together all Tax Authorities with a common vision and goal, is poised to change the financial profile of Nigeria and particularly, lay a strong financial foundation to fund government at all tiers beyond aid, grants and borrowing”, he said.

Fowler commended the strides of the Kwara IRS under Dr Murtala Awodun. Said Fowler:  “The choice of Kwara State as the host for the North-Central Regional flag-off event is strategic as it is in recognition of the path-finding role it has played in the quest towards ensuring sustainable internally generated revenue profile for the State as well as for the region.

“Over the years, the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS) has designed and executed far reaching IGR reforms that have seen it establish itself as a model Revenue Agency in the region. Following the signing of the Law granting it autonomy in June 2015, it has developed in leaps and bounds constantly seeking to achieve excellence in tax administration.

“Having achieved a 221% increase in its collection, from N7.1 billion in 2015 at the time of attaining its autonomous status, to N23 billion in 2018, Kwara State IRS has come to be a benchmark for revenue authorities, not just within the North Central region, but nationwide as well. It is also worthy of note that KWIRS is also the only State Revenue Agency in the country to have been ISO certified, with the ISO 9001 for Quality Management System and ISO/IEC 22301 for Business Continuity Management System.

“While Kwara State IRS continue to set standards, sister Revenue Authorities within the zone are not left behind as statistics indicate that Niger State with 60.05% and Nasarawa State with 22.56% are among the top fifteen States with an annual growth rate above 20% in 2018. This is coupled with the fact that the FCT IRS, in its first full year of autonomous operations is comfortably placed as the fourth highest sub-national revenue generating agency in 2018, behind Lagos, Rivers and Ogun States.

Fowler noted that the JTB under him is not doing badly at the level of  promoting the nation’s business and financial health: Said the FIRS Chairman: Äs the process of securing the relevant data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) via the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBBS), and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) as directed by the President are ongoing, we believe that today’s ceremony will further reinforce the need for us to work together as one towards ensuring a more friendly tax environment in the country, while promoting the various  socio-economic initiatives of Mr. President such as the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative, Ease of Doing Business and the Economic and Recovery Growth Plan.

The New TIN Registration System is geared towards reinforcing the laudable efforts of this administration towards building a robust tax-revenue administration system for the country and it aims to improve the ease of tax compliance while ensuring a sustainable and inclusive economy for all Nigerians.

“”Over the last four years, the economic policies of the current administration has focused on establishing a stable foundation for further socio-economic growth and development, and with the astute leadership of Mr. President, the milestones achieved bears ample testimony on the impact that has been made, not only in tax-revenue administration, but in the environment of doing business in Nigeria.

Governor of Kwara State, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRasak who was represented by the State’s Deputy Governor, Kayode Alabi also lauded the TIN initiative, saying that the payment of tax is change that everyone must embrace.

“Tax payment is integral to the growth and development of every economy and it must be embraced by every human who wants to see the change we all desire. We are very optimistic that this launch of TIN Registration System and consolidated National Database will indeed increase the coverage of taxpayers and simplify tax processes in the North-Central Geopolitical Region”, he said

When the new TIN tax database was launched by the Vice President in Abuja by Professor Yemi Osinbajo, two months ago, he noted  that tax-revenue administration in the 21st century has evolved into “a systematic and deliberate process that is underpinned by the availability of accurate and reliable data. It entails deliberate and strategic planning initiatives, well informed and adequately equipped tax-revenue managers who drive the process both on and off the field.

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Editorial Chief, Nigerian Bureau

Kings UBA is a Nigerian journalist and writer. I have reported for major local and international news organisations. I write satire. In 2017, I started contributing stories primarily to Discover Africa News Network. I can be reached on editorkingsuba@gmail.com. I currently manage Discover Africa News social media handles