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Adedeji assumes office, promises 18% Tax-to-GDP Ratio



• As FIRS generates N8.5trn in 8 months

• Vows to go after tax defaulters

From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

The Federal Inland Revenue Service’s Acting Chairman, Zacch Adedeji, on assumption of office has announced the bold step of exceeding Africa’s average tax-to-GDP ratio of 16.5 percent and reaching an outstanding 18 percent within three years.

According to a former head of the FIRS, Mohammad Nami, Nigeria currently has a tax-to-GDP ratio of 10.86 percent, this amount was increased by Nami’s administration from six percent to 10.86 percent, a mark Adedeji promised he would reach.

Adedeji said on Monday, during a handover ceremony that marks the transfer of authority from his predecessor to him at the revenue house in Abuja that, “By doing so, we aim to reduce our nation’s reliance on borrowing and ensure financial sustainability.”

He promised to go after tax defaulters in his resolve to aggressively drive compliance.

“For those who deviate from their tax obligations, rest assured, we will enforce our responsibilities judiciously,” he stated, adding that his administration will implement a robust enforcement model that effectively defers tax evaders while maintaining fairness and transparency in the processes of the service.

In order to facilitate voluntary tax payments and develop a sense of civic responsibility, Adedeji committed to streamlining Nigeria’s tax system, making it accessible and understandable.

He said quality data will be the cornerstone of the FIRS’ operations under his watch, enabling it to measure progress, make informed decisions, and maintain the highest standards of accountability.

“We recognise that data-driven strategies are essential to our success.

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“I pledge to maintain an open-door policy, actively engaging with stakeholders to collaboratively construct a tax administration that we can all take pride in. Together, we will build an institution that serves as a beacon of excellence,” he stated.

At the handover ceremony, Nami also revealed that the service is on track to break yet another record in 2023 because it collected over N8.5 trillion (cash) from 1 January to 14 September and assessed, reconciled, and recovered over N4 trillion in unpaid taxes as well as funds from NNPCL that had been sequestered on behalf of the federation.

He said the total sum of over N12 trillion is exclusive of amounts invested by our taxpayers under the road infrastructure tax credit scheme and tax implications of waivers by government from January, 2023 to date.

Nami said certainly, the projections by the current government of tax to GDP of 18 percent in another four years is not only realisable but can be surpassed.

Meanwhile, the immediate past chairman of FIRS has advised his successor, Adedeji continued with the reforms and projects that were introduced during his four-year administration for high tax revenue generation and effective tax collection, even as he said some of the reforms could be changed.

“The reforms may require more changes to the administrative and operational structure of the Service. Therefore, I encourage the acting Executive Chairman to continue with these reforms and projects for the benefit of our dear country,” Nami said.

He said the FIRS under him had projected a total 2023 tax collection of a minimum of N15 trillion and a projected tax to GDP of nearly 14 per cent by December 2023.

Nami highlighted some of his achievements as chairman of the service. He said his administration embarked on broad reforms focusing on automation of tax administration processes and administrative and operational restructuring of the service.

“The service achieved this goal by using in-house capacities to develop and deploy the Taxpro MAX which had been in use since 2021. The Taxpro MAX is a landmark success considering that the legacy iTax system that was procured at huge costs did not operate beyond the pilot stage,” he stated

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