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Nigeria embarks on tax payers’ audit, generates $11.6b revenue


Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has resolved to embark on the audit of tax payers to boost revenue collection, as it generated $11.4 billion in the past eight months.
The huge tax record is coming on the heels of the report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which showed that Nigeria’s total value of merchandise trade dropped to $21.6 billion.
The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Babatunde Fowler said the tax record was $3.3 billion higher, compared with the $8.2 billion recorded during the same period last year.
Fowler spoke at a stakeholders’ forum in Lagos where he described oil revenue during the period as unstable.
 “If you look at 2018 revenue till date, between January and August, we have done N3.5 trillion, which was N1 trillion higher than the amount realised over same period in 2017.
“You can clearly see that even at current prices, the oil revenue tax cannot fund our nation. The only way to have a high level of tax compliance is to focus on the non-oil.
“A component of the non-oil happens to be Value Added Tax (VAT) and we have found that a number of business collect VAT and don’t remit it”.
Fowler also disclosed that his agency has begun the audit of taxpayers throughout the country, adding that this will lead to increased revenue collection.
 “I also want to announce that we now have a consolidated database of all taxpayers in Nigeria under the Joint Tax Board (JTB).
“We just concluded it and before the end of September, it will be made available to all state internal revenue services and other government agencies like Immigration and Customs. It will be available for tax administration”.
Meanwhile NBS Thursday said the total value of Nigeria’s merchandise trade recorded a decline in the second quarter of 2018, showing a contraction of 8.89 per cent.
In a report released Thursday, NBS attributed this to the decline in imports and exports in the second quarter.
The report showed that Nigeria however recorded a surplus of $7.8 billion, which represents 8.36 per cent increase compared to $7.1 billion in the first quarter in its trade balance for the period under review.
NBS stated that crude oil accounted for 83.5 per cent of total trade while non-oil exports accounted for only 4.3 per cent of total exports.