By Harrison Arubu
The Federal Inland Revenue Service ((FIRS) generated N1.5 trillion revenue in the first quarter (Q1) of 2019, according to its Chairman, Mr Babatunde Fowler.
Fowler disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York at the weekend.
He said the amount included revenue from non-oil taxes that were 11 per cent higher than what the agency realised from that sector in Q1 of 2018.
“In the first quarter (of 2019), what I will say is that in the non-oil sector, we generated 11 per cent higher than what we generated in 2018.
“Basically, we have generated about N1.5 trillion,” Fowler told NAN on the sidelines of a high-level meeting on illicit financial flows hosted by the United Nations General Assembly.
The 2019 amount is N330 billion or 28 per cent higher than the N1.17 trillion reported by FIRS in the same period of 2018.
NAN reports that the Q1 figure also represents 18.7 per cent of the agency’s total revenue target of N8 trillion for 2019.
Fowler said the target, described by economy watchers as quite ambitious, was realistic with the cooperation of tax payers, among other factors.
He said, “It is quite realistic as long as we have the cooperation of tax payers in addition to deployment of technology.
“We have already started the enforcement of over 50,000 accounts that have banking turnover of 100 billion and above that have not filed their returns.”
The FIRS boss also spoke of plans by the agency to surpass the over N1 trillion it realised from Valued Added Tax (VAT) in 2018.
“We will get more people into the tax net and deploy more technology.
“We have what we call Auto VAT Collect, and that basically assists tax payers at the point of transaction, and the VAT portion is sent straight into the federation account.
“So, we know that there is more room for growth in the VAT sector,” he explained.
The N8.83 trillion proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari for spending by the Federal Government in 2019 was based on a revenue target of N6.97 trillion.
The expected income consisted of oil revenue estimated at N3.73 trillion and non-oil oil projected at N1.39 trillion.
To actualise this, the Federal Government in a January launched a “Strategic Revenue Growth Plan” to be implemented by FIRS and other revenue generating agencies.
Fowler said all hands were on deck to actualise the plan, adding that that everything “seems to be on course”.