- FIRS generates N2.5tn
Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has secured 137 convictions between January and August 2017, and recovered looted funds in different currency denominations totaling N409,270,706,686.75, $69,501,156.67 million, Â£231,118.68, â‚¬610,816.20; AED 443,400.00 and SR70,500.
The acting Chairman of the anti-graft agency, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, disclosed this in Abuja at a public lecture organised by the Abuja chapter of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) to mark its 20th anniversary.
The recovered monies, Magu stated, are kept in the recovery fund account of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Delivering a lecture on â€˜Corruption and National Development: Issues, Challenges and Solutions,â€™ the EFCC boss said corruption was the single biggest challenge facing Nigeria, adding that never in the history of the agency had corruption being fought in a manner it was being addressed by the EFCC.
He added that with the successes so far recorded by the agency, the era of impunity was over.
Magu, who was represented by the Head, Public Interface Unit, EFCC, Tony Orilade, said a lot of successes had been recorded in the fight against corruption, adding that those benefiting from corrupt practices were seriously fighting back.
â€œTo state that Nigeria has all it takes to truly be the giant of Africa is to state the obvious. We are blessed with both human and mineral resources. But, why have we been unable to explore and exploit our potential to the fullest? Corruption is no doubt at the heart of why a media house will will not pay itâ€™s teeming staff members their salaries, despite their toil day and night to ensure the publication does not miss the light of the day.
â€œCorruption is the reason why our hospitals have remained in deplorable states. To put it more bluntly, the single major problem militating against our national development is corruption. Most crimes against humanity are perpetrated using the proceeds of corruption, monies obtained through illegal activities, illicit cashflows and money laundering. But we are winning the war against corruption, because the age of impunity is over. Never again would anyone be treated as sacred cow,â€ he said.
â€œAs much as we are striving to fight corruption to a standstill in Nigeria, sadly it is fighting back, really hard. In the history of the EFCCâ€™s 14 years of spearheading the fight against corruption, the fight-back has never been this serious. What wonâ€™t they do to silence the commission and itâ€™s dutiful officialsâ€? He queried.
Meanwhile, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has disclosed that it generated a total of N2.51 trillion from taxes for the federation between January and August this year.
The FIRSâ€™ Executive Chairman, Mr. Babatunde Fowler, said out of the amount, non-oil taxes contributed about 65 per cent while taxes from oil sources contributed the balance of 35 per cent
He said the agency was able to achieve the collection through innovative ways of tax administration.
A lot of reforms, he said. had been implemented by the service to ensure voluntary compliance with the tax laws.
He added that the service had also put in place strategies to increase the amount generated from non-oil taxes.
He said: â€œTo close the gap in low oil tax revenue caused by the fall in the price of crude oil and the incessant destruction of oil and gas facilities in the South-south region, the service introduced innovative strategies to raise the revenue from non- oil sources.
â€œThis has resulted in the collection of total tax revenue of N2.5trillion between January and August, 2017.â€
On the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), which was formally launched in June by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, Fowler said the scheme was designed to encourage voluntary disclosure of previously undisclosed assets and income for the purpose of payment of all outstanding tax liabilities.
He said: â€œThe scheme is expected to help expand Nigeriaâ€™s tax base and therefore improve the low tax to GDP ratio from the current six per cent to between 10s and 15 per cent.
â€œIt also seeks to curb the use of tax havens for illicit fund flow and tax avoidance.â€
He added that, the scheme is being implemented across the states in collaboration with the 36 stateâ€™s internal revenue services and that of Federal Capital Territory
The FIRS VAIDS programme offers a grace period from July 1, 2017 to March 31,2018 for defaulting tax payers to voluntarily pay back to government what they owe.