The Federal Inland Revenue Service said in Abuja on Monday that less than 15 million Nigerians were paying taxes.This was stated by the chairman, Joint Tax Board, Mr. Babatunde Fowler at the peer leaning event on internally-generated revenue organised by the World Bank and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
In his statement said, that a large percentage of Nigerians were defaulting in tax remittances to the Federal Government.He stated further that from available records, the total number of individual taxpayers across the country was below 15 million, with majority of those in the private sector, including self-employed persons, professionals and high net worth individuals defaulting in payment of relevant taxes.
Also speaking at the event, the Director-General, Nigeria Governor’s forum (NGF), Mr. Asishana Okauru, said the forum had resolved to replicate the reforms that led to the 20 per cent growth in the Internal Generated Revenue(IGR) in 23 states of the federation in 2016 in the remaining 13 states that witnessed a contraction in the IGR generation. Okauru said the NGF would provide technical assistance to the states next year by expanding support in other areas of public financial management.
It is in order to stem these challenges that prompted the government to propose having access to information on all categories of taxpayers through the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme, where by taxpayers who are in default of tax payment will be required to voluntarily declare their assets and incomes within a time frame.Nigeria would be better off and more jobs created and economic activities promoted if more revenue was made available at the state and federal levels.
The gathering, which included commissioners of finance from the 36 states and other tax experts, that the revenue target in the next two or three years is similar to the target at the national level, which is to fund the national budget with taxes collected, which is currently at 65 per cent of revenue realised from non-oil.