Reconstituted Tax Committee will Boost Non-oil Revenue, Says Fowler

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The Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Mr. Tunde Fowler, has declared that the reconstitution of the National Tax Policy Implementation Committee (NTPIC) will lead to a boost in the country’s non-oil revenue. Fowler made the declaration yesterday at the inaugural meeting of the reconstituted NPTIC, which held in Abuja. The FIRS boss noted that for the country’s revenue base to grow, there is a need for improvement in non-oil tax revenues.

He explained that the ongoing tax reform gained further impetus under the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiatives (SRGIs), which he said are focused on three key thematic areas -achieving sustainability in revenue generation; identifying new and enhancing the enforcement of existing revenue streams, as well as achieving cohesion in the revenue ecosystem.

“The SRGIs proposed to develop and propose tax laws targeted at emerging, digital economies as well as review existing tax laws to close legal loopholes for taxes by adopting a sectoral, rules-based approach.

“Specifically, the FIRS was charged with reviewing existing tax laws to close legal loopholes for taxes by adopting a sectoral, rules-based approach and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) was asked to review extant customs and excise laws to bring these in line with global practices,” he explained.

To ensure the tax laws and excise reforms under SRGIs are appropriately anchored by the leadership of FIRS and NCS, the former Finance Minister, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, in May, reconstituted the NTPIC under the leadership of Fowler as Chairman and Comptroller-General of Customs as Deputy Chairman.

He charged the committee to accelerate the development and submission of a draft Finance Bill to harmonise the various tax and excise law reform efforts.

“It is our expectation that the Technical Committee will work assiduously over the next few weeks to produce a singular set of fiscal measures that will be considered and approved by the reconstituted NTPIC.

“Once agreed, these fiscal measures are to be submitted to the Economic Management Team and Federal Executive Council, for approval and ultimate transmission to the National Assembly, for passage into law, as part of the efforts to support the 2020 Executive Budget proposal,” he said.

He declared that the committee is ready to partner and engage other tiers of government, particularly the National Assembly, for support in the passage of a single Finance Bill that will ensure revenue-enhancement initiatives with appropriate legislative backing.

“I look forward to receiving the report and submissions of the Technical Committee, in due course, to expedite our efforts in drafting the proposed Finance Bill to support the financing of the 2020 Federal Budget.

Accepting the responsibility bestow on the Committee, Ambassador Dipeolu assured the NTPIC of the Committee’s commitment to producing a draft Finance Bill incorporating fiscal measures to support the government’s revenue generation efforts.

“As you may be aware, Nigeria has one of the lowest tax-to-GDP ratios in the world at six per cent, which constitutes a significant challenge to raising the quantum of resources we need to deliver key economic, social and other development targets under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

“The SRGIs Steering Committee, of which I am a member, continues to meet regularly and pursue the implementation of a variety of tax and other revenue-enhancing reforms and interventions.

“However, fiscal policy reforms are not only about raising taxes and excise duties, but also about strengthening the social contract between citizens and state, upon which modern societies are built,” Dipeolu said.