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HomeExclusiveTax Evasion: Buhari Raises Concerns On Huge Revenue Losses, Demands Stricter Measures

Tax Evasion: Buhari Raises Concerns On Huge Revenue Losses, Demands Stricter Measures

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By Babajide Okeowo

The huge revenue losses incurred by Nigeria due to leakages arising from activities of revenue-generating agencies in the country has become a source of concerns to President Muhammadu Buhari.

To this effect, the resident has mandated the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and other revenue-generating agencies to forthwith block such leakages.

He has also directed strict compliance with regulations on tax payment by both local and foreign companies, stressing that no firm should be exempted from tax payment.

Besides, the president also pledged to continue the federal government’s diversification of the economy through the efficient use of revenues from oil and gas resources.

Buhari, in a speech yesterday at the First National Tax Dialogue in Abuja, directed the FIRS and related government agencies to plug all revenue leakages by ensuring strict compliance with tax payments by foreign companies operating in Nigeria and the deployment of more digital platforms and seamless connections.

Buhari, in a statement by his media adviser, Mr. Femi Adesina, ordered all government agencies to automate their operations and ensure more synergy in advancing the interest of the nation in revenue generation.

“It is not enough that our citizens and local businesses pay their fair share of taxes. Equally, foreign businesses must also not be allowed to continue to exploit our markets and economy without paying appropriate taxes.

Accordingly, the FIRS has my mandate to speedily put all measures in place to fully implement programmes to stamp out base erosion and profit shifting in all their ramifications and generally, automate its tax processes.

In line with this, I have directed all government agencies and business enterprises to grant FIRS access to their systems for a seamless connection. FIRS must ensure that its deployment of technology for automation is done in line with international best practices. In particular, FIRS can borrow a leaf from other countries which have successfully automated their tax processes’’ he said.

He added that Nigeria will continue to work with the inclusive framework to develop internationally acceptable rules for taxation of the digital economy while hoping that “the inclusive framework would have evolved into an acceptable multilateral solution that will comprehensively address the tax challenges of the digitalised economy by the middle of 2021.’’

The president assured citizens that the federal government will continue to pursue its mandate of improving lives through investments in infrastructural projects like railways, roads, electricity, healthcare, and education, in spite of dwindling revenues and the challenge of coronavirus.

“Our government has continued to pursue all those projects despite the massive decline in government revenues occasioned by a combination of factors among which is the COVID-19 pandemic.

The devastating effect of COVID-19 on the health and economy of the world is evident across every stratum of our society. It is obvious to every citizen of this country that our economy is not immune to the global economic downturn. As such, we have had to confront the conflicting situations of reflating the economy and at the same time raising revenue to meet our budgetary needs. It is within this context that the government undertook an expansive budgetary projection of over N13 trillion for 2021,’’ Buhari said.

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