Fowler Pushes For More Robust Tax Collection | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Fowler Pushes For More Robust Tax Collection

Posted: Jul 29, 2016 at 6:25 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

Isuma Mark


Abuja – Mr. Tunde Fowler, the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), has pushed for more robust tax drive to boost government’s revenue base amid dwindling oil fortune.

Consequently, in his bid to ensure prompt and efficient tax collection, the FIRS has continued to push for quick payment of taxes by shutting down defaulter’s offices across the federation.

In the last four months, giant companies have been shut down as the agency continues to enforce its mandate to rescue the country from economic malaise.

Buoyed by excitement recently expressed by state governors following improved allocation from the federation account for the month of June, FIRS has clamped down on tax defaulting companies across the country.

The FIRS team in Abuja was led by Mr. Chinazor Edeh, who shut down Taleveras, an energy firm. According to the agency, the company’s indebtedness to it was well over N667 million in tax liabilities.

The agency few days ago also sealed a firm called Jardin Nigeria Limited, a landscaping and project management company.

The agency said Jardin was said to be owing over N129 million in taxes.

As the enforcement team was carrying out its activities in Abuja, another team in Lagos led by Anita Erinne was also operating in Lagos where some companies were shut down for failure to pay huge arrears of taxes.

Companies that have been shut down in the last few months include AMG Petroleum Energy Limited, located in Abuja for defaulting in tax payment amounting to N27,350,579.66.

The agency also claimed that the tax debt incurred by the oil firm included Company Income Tax, Value-Added Tax, Withholding Tax and P.A.Y.E between 2009 and 2015.

A renowned construction company, Costain West Africa Plc, First Deepwater Discovery Limited, CAT Construction Group Limited and OPI International Limited, all in Lagos, had also been shut down in a sweeping operation to rein in tax defaulters.

Costain West Africa Plc alone was alleged to be owing N2 billion in Company Income Tax (CIT), Value Added Tax (VAT) and other taxes.

First Deepwater Discovery Limited was allegedly to be owing tax liabilities of N230 million, made up of withholding tax, education tax and VAT, while the tax liabilities of CAT Construction Group Limited was N176 million according to the agency.

Similarly, OPI International Limited was alleged to be owing N3 million in CIT and VAT.

Not all, the agency has carried out effective operations in Anambra State where the operation of Shoelz International Limited was shut down over a tax debt of N32 million.

Others in Anambra were Midfield West Africa Limited and Felixo International Hotel Limited, Oba, Ekwenibe and Sons Trading Company Limited with the latter quoted to be having a tax liability of N78 million.

With these national operations, the agency contributed significantly to the revenue base of the government, leading to increase in revenue allocation to the three tiers of government in June.

Reacting to the development, Chairman, Joint Tax Board (JTB) and Executive Chairman, FIRS, Mr. Tunde Fowler, said that 70 percent of over N500 billion raised for the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) in June came from non-oil sector.

In his words, “Of the sum” of N500 billion, “70 percent came from non-oil sources while only 30 percent came from oil sources. It was the first time in 2016 that the Federal Government shared over N500 billion among the three tiers of government during the Federal Accounts and Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting.

“We are proud of the development and we tell ourselves that this is the time to fund the budget of the Federal Government from non-oil sources”, a bullish Fowler boomed.

Mr. Fowler was speaking in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, when he led 36 state chairmen of the State Boards of Internal Revenue (SBIR) to the Governor’s Office in Abeokuta for the occasion of the 135th meeting of the JTB.

Even Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun could not hide his joy as he said, “Whatever you, Customs and others did last month that ensured that we,  federal, states, shared over N500 billion at FAAC, please continue to do it. It is good for the Federal Government. It is good for states. It is good for local governments. It is good for the nation.”

“We have commenced tax enforcement too,” Mr. Fowler pointed out. “We are happy that the efforts of the FIRS in collaboration with revenue stakeholders are already yielding positive result.”

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