The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Muhammed Nami, on Monday restated the absolute necessity of paying taxes,a nd revealed that N500 billion out of N696 billion shared by the three tiers of government as July allocation, came from taxes and stamp duty.
In a television programme, Nami spoke, saying tax revenues generated by the FIRS, are what has sustained the country’s economy, during the COVID-19 pandemic and its horrid effects.
According the FIRS Chairman, Nigerians need to acknowledge the importance of paying their taxes, and not just individual citizens, but corporate bodies as well. Nami said this action will aid the country to keep its economy alive in trying times.
Nami said: “Nobody wants to pay tax but payment of tax is necessary. There is never a time that is appropriate for somebody to pay taxes. You can see it all over the world.
“This belief that with oil money we are rich is false. What you see the federal, states and local governments sharing at the federation account meetings monthly comes largely from taxes paid by Nigerians or body corporate. At the FAAC meeting in July, the total amount shared among the three tiers of government was N696 billion. From this amount, 30 per cent came from revenue generating-agencies like NNPC and Customs. The remaining 70 per cent which is almost N500 billion, came from tax money that you paid, including stamp duty. Without this money, there will be chaos everywhere. You are looking at issues relating to COVID-19 and the impact it is having on businesses today. People are actually losing jobs but it would be worse if taxes are not paid.”
In addition to this, Nami emphasised that there is never a convenient time for citizens of a country to pay their taxes, and that bankable Nigerians have been paying stamp duty on their cheque books, since its introduction in 1939.
He disclosed that the renewed focus on stamp duty via the recent launch of an inter-ministerial committee on the recovery of stamp duty from 2016 till date has started to yield dividends, His words: “Before now remittances from stamp used to be an average of about N17 billion and N18 billion per year. Currently, it is in the region of N80 billion. I can confirm to you too that a commercial bank which has not been remitting this stamp duty before now in the month of July alone remitted about N1.2 billion, so we are not playing about it. We know that oil revenue is not there. We know that we are in a serious economic crisis and the only way to ensure that Nigerians are happy with the government is to ensure that this money deducted from their hard-earned income but which is not remitted is remitted to government coffers.”