L-R: Executive Chairman of Nigeria's top tax authority, Tunde Fowler and Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the TIN flag-off in Lagos. Source/FIRS

L-R: Executive Chairman of Nigeria’s top tax authority, Tunde Fowler and Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the TIN flag-off in Lagos. Source/FIRS

Nigeria’s South-West pays 50% of whole country’s bills, says tax chief


South-West region of Nigeria have six states: Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti, Osun and Ondo contribute more than 45.6 percent of total internally generated revenue of the country in 2018, Executive Chairman of Nigeria’s top tax authority, FIRS, Tunde Fowler, has said.

Nigeria has six geopolitical regions with 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Abuja altogether.

Nigeria’s revenue is brought to the table monthly, a ‘national cake’ for sharing among Federal, State and Local Government authorities.

In the South-West, Lagos States has the largest stake in terms of business activities and consequent revenue generation. In 2017, data from the tax authority say Lagos alone contributed 50% of the country’s revenue.

Fowler made this remarks in Lagos on Thursday at the South-West regional flag off ceremony of the new TIN registration system and its consolidated database of individual and corporate taxpayers’.

The North-Central region version of the TIN flag-off was held in Abuja a forth-night ago.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State was at the event and he said the introduction of the new Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) registration system and its consolidated database marked a new regime in tax compliance and administration. He also called on stakeholders across all levels to support the new initiative in order to deepen tax administration and increase tax revenue collection.

Fowler, who is also the Chairman, Joint Tax Board (JTB), said the said that the economic profile of Lagos State was humongous and that the effect of these economy activities could be felt across the entire South West and the country in general.

“At 45.6%, the South West Geopolitical Zone is the largest contributor to total IGR collection at the sub-national level for the year 2018. This is a trend that has been consistent over the years, and with the vibrancy of economic and commercial activity in the Zone, it holds immense potential which can only be unlocked by a systematic approach to revenue generation. 

“The fact of Lagos State being the economic nerve-centre of the nation is not in dispute. Touted as the fifth largest economy in Africa, Lagos is home to the Apapa Port and the Tin-Can Port. 

“It is also the hub of the nation’s aviation industry and the nerve centre of the nation’s manufacturing and financial sector, with thousands of manufacturing companies and hundreds of financial institutions having their operational headquarters within its boundaries. 

“In simple terms, the economic profile of Lagos is humongous, and the effect of its economic activities can be felt across the entire South-West Geo-political Zone and the nation as a whole,’’ Fowler explained.

Fowler said Lagos State continued to carve a positive niche for itself in terms of innovation and dynamism in tax administration and that the neighboring states within the region were towing similar paths of tax reform.

He noted that the new system would consolidate the efficiency and effectiveness of the tax administration process in region and the entire country.

Fowler added that: “This new reality drives the desire by the JTB to ensure that the identification of individuals and corporate bodies for tax purposes in Nigeria is achievable. 

“It is not only important that these records are available, it is equally important that the records are credible and reliable and that they are accessible under a secure environment, online real-time.”

He said the country had in the last four years have seen a number of modest milestones in tax-revenue administration to include 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 and growth in the IGR of states by 46.11 per cent from N800.02 billion in 2016 to N1.16 trillion in 2018

Also, growth in FIRS collections by 53.81 per cent 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 FIRS, while Non-Oil Revenue, with a collection of N2.85 trillion accounted for 54 per cent of total revenue collection

A positive movement during the same period by Nigeria moving up 25 points in the Tax Administration Section of World Bank ‘Ease of Doing Business’; it is expected that the country would further move up the rankings by the time the review for 2019 is published among others.

He commended stakeholders including Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), Nigeria Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) among others for their support.

According to the Governor, “The demand for higher quality of governance and citizens everywhere in the world are seeking to interface with their governments in order to fulfil their obligations in an easier and efficient manner. 

“Technology is the way to do this. Leveraging on technology to drive change at our various economic activities,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu commended the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), SBIRs and various technology providers for putting all of this together. 

According to him, this initiative should be communicated as widely as possible in order to have the highest number of taxpayers taking advantage of this initiative.

Earlier, the Executive Secretary of JTB, Mr. Oseni Elamah (mni) said the dynamics of change in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) made it imperative that domestic tax-revenue administration meet up to the emerging trends. 

He said the new TIN Registration System and its consolidated database of individual and corporate taxpayers’ have been designed to form the foundation upon which the nation’s automated tax administration system was built. 

“The new System is a web-based solution that offers access to authorized users to initiate TIN request from the comfort of their homes/offices real-time online, verify their tax status and print their TIN certificate. 

“It is a transparent system that assures timely and accurate collection and recording of basic identification data. It also permits the tax administrator to understand its taxpayer base for effective revenue projections and other planning activities. 

“By leveraging on existing data from relevant identity management agencies, the new system reduces the burden of multiple registration of taxpayers as well as promoting the ease of doing business and paying taxes. 

“It also ensures seamless integration and exchange of information amongst the various tax authorities within and outside Nigeria, as well as with other authorized stakeholders via web service. The new system is innovative, inspires confidence and provides transparency’’, he explained.

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