The national taxpayer roll is set to hit 33 million, Chairman of the Joint Tax Board and Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Tunde Fowler has said.
He spoke in Bauchi as the State Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar launched payment of taxes through Automatic Teller Machines and through its website.
The new e-payment system is being powered by Interswitch.
Fowler also celebrated the increase in revenue generation in Bauchi state under the leadership of Executive Chairman, Bauchi State Internal Revenue Service, Alhaji Jibrin Hassaini Jibo from about N4 billion to over N7 billion monthly.
Fowler spoke at the 142nd meeting of the Joint Tax Board (JTB).
Said Fowler: “The role of IGR in the success of your administration cannot be overemphasized. Your administration has been a strong proponent of enhanced IGR and your support and encouragement for the Bauchi State Internal Revenue Service is ample testimony to this fact. Today, with the launching of the State IGR collection platform and the official website of the Bauchi State Board of Internal Revenue Service, we are only more encouraged that the rising IGR profile of the State will not only be sustained but will experience even added growth in the years to come.
“You may wish to note that Bauchi State is actually one of the success stories when matters of IGR are discussed, both at the regional and at the national levels. Your Excellency may wish to note a few of the impressive statistics on IGR collection of Bauchi State. Computation of IGR collection for Bauchi State for the nine-month period of January to September 2018 hit N7.04 billion. This figure has already outperformed the Full Year 2017 IGR figure of N4.36 billion with a percentage margin of 61.2%.
“Average quarterly growth rates for Bauchi as at Q3 2018 is 10.01%, which places it among the top ten highest average quarterly growth rates nationwide for the period. At the regional level, Bauchi State is actually setting a healthy pace for the region as her 9-month collection in 2018 is just over 26% of the entire IGR collected by the Six States within the region.
Fowler noted that the JTB seeks to play an important role in an “emerging global community where boundaries have moved beyond physical geographic expressions and where financial flows have become seamless and electronic, making it increasingly challenging for Governments to collect the taxes that are due them”
“It is in the light of the foregoing that the theme of this 142nd Meeting, which is “Consolidated Credible Database and Exchange of Information: Role of Stakeholders” was selected.
With the ongoing database consolidation of the JTB, an initiative being executed in collaboration with the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), a National Taxpayer database with the data of well over 33 million individual taxpayers across the country is now a reality. Thus, having this consolidated database, which is clean and credible, opens the door to immense opportunities for the tax administrator at all levels.
“As we build on this data, we shall also be ensuring that the technological infrastructure that will facilitate the seamless exchange of data across levels of competent authorities are present. This entail significant investment in Information Technology via the provision of required infrastructure, equipment and as capacity building for personnel that will drive the processes.
The JTB Chairman was optimistic that such investment in infrastructure will foster efficiency in taxpayer management and will align with the country being a signatory to the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) which will trigger the Automatic Exchange of Information among Treaty Partners and two other initiatives of the Federal Government: the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), and the Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularization Scheme (VOARS).
Jibo said the state was able to improve its revenue collection as it has automated the Bauchi IRS collection platforms and streamlined our activities with other revenue generating agencies, plugged revenue leakages.’
Governor Mohammed Abubakar called State Governors to ensure automation of their revenue authorities in order to improve Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
“The place of tax as the major thrust of economic growth is unquestionable since time immemorial. It is the first principle that defines an organized society. It is therefore disheartening that at this age where the cost of running government and provision of services is huge as a result of population growth, that some businesses and individuals still evades taxes. It is largely a question of patriotism. To build the Nigeria of our dream we must as citizens and as government show a great deal of patriotism in the discharge of our civic responsibilities.
“The resounding feats, FIRS has achieved over the years by always exceeding its revenue target is another testimony that patriotism and professionalism are the major ingredients that propels efficiency and prosperity. This has also resonates the waves of positive change that blows in the country by stabilizing the economy for the government to fund its infrastructural revolution and social intervention programme, aside its other prime responsibilities.
“In the same vein, the strenuous effort, Bauchi state internal revenue service has wielded at the complete abscission of the manual tax collection system is impressive. The automation of all the collection platforms has significantly raised our IGR by plugging revenue leakages at one end and providing our tax payers a convenient, reliable and efficient platform to fulfil their tax obligations to the State at the other end.
“It gladdens my heart that, despite the great turbulence of the tide we sailed towards reinvigorating the apparatuses of governance, the State revenue generating apparatus has been restructured to an innovative and a technology driven one that moves in pace with the emerging realities of the tax environment. While, I am comfortable at the pace we are moving in this direction, I believe this meeting offers a wide niche of opportunities for greater improvements.
“I, am mindful of how difficult collecting taxes could be, that is why I gave the Revenue Board the wherewithal to carry out their activities with full autonomy and strong political backing. We are working towards reviewing our tax laws to further lignify our taxes. We are also working towards adopting the Treasury Single Account (TSA) system and other robust initiatives that would place us at the appropriate place within the Nigerian tax sphere.
“It is noteworthy we came at a most challenging period. We took over not only a dysfunctional system with empty treasury, low internally generated revenue profile, but also one with huge debts; including backlog of salaries and other economic and social deficits. Moreover, the federal allocation, which is the main source of funding to the government, plummeted greatly during the period as a result of the sharp slum in the prices of crude at the international market.
”We give thanks to the Almighty Allah for given us the wisdom to remain focused. Right from the onset, we understand the quantum of challenges we would encounter and similarly, the level of confidence our people have reposed on us, especially, the aspiration to improve their lives in all its facets.
“To satisfy our conscience, we took the task in trust. To make headway, we therefore stood persistently, against the interest of the selfish few. We made both personal and collective sacrifices as individuals and as a government and also evolved a number of human oriented programmes and policies that revamped the State on the path of economic and indeed, social recovery and growth. Today even our critics have hallmarked our government with probity.
“We have been able to judiciously utilize the State meager resources towards raising all economic and social indices of our people. Our desire for excellence has clearly manifested in the quality of our projects. Our priority in the areas of Education, Agriculture, infrastructure and rural development is revolutionary in our history as a State.
Ayo Tanimowo, the Interswitch representative at the event explained that Bauchi engaged Interswitch and Inteliworx, to provide a tax management solution for tax payer assessment, services rendition and report generation.
Both worked to provide to provide payment gateway to ease collections and block leakages; integrate their systems to ensure validation of tax payer identification and notification of e-collections done via the different channels. Electronic receipt is generated for every transaction, while the e-Receipt