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41 million Nigerians now paying taxes: FIRS

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) says Nigeria now has 41 million in its tax nets.


ABUJA – The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) says Nigeria now has 41 million in its tax nets.

Muhammad Nami, FIRS boss, disclosed this on Friday, at the public presentation and breakdown of the 2022 appropriation bill.

According to TheCable, as of the second quarter of 2019, the revenue agency had said Nigeria had only 20 million taxpayers, leaving at least 49 million people said to be evading paying tax.

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Nami who spoke at the event held in Abuja said that despite the 41 million taxpayers, Nigeria still earned lower than what countries with similar indices across Africa, generate from personal income taxes (PIT).

“If you also compare that with South Africa where they have a total population of about 60 million people, with just four million taxpayers, the total personal income tax paid in South Africa last year was about N13 trillion. You can now see that these things are not adding up,” NAN quoted him as saying.

“The number of billionaires in Lagos alone is more than the number of billionaires in the whole of South Africa, but what we generated as PIT by Lagos state was low.

“So, if we don’t pay these taxes, there is no way the government will be able to provide the social amenities required, the critical infrastructure required, for the wellbeing of the country.

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“People are not willing to pay even when they are appointed as agents of the collection; whatever they have collected, they find it difficult to remit.

“We assume that we are a rich country. I don’t think that is correct. We only have the potential to be rich, because we have a very huge population of about 200 million.

“If you look at it from the rate of taxes paid in Saudi Arabia with a population of 10 million people, the VAT rate is as high as 15 percent and what we have in Nigeria is just 7.5 percent.”

The FIRS chairman added that N4.2 trillion was the total tax collection “up till September 2021”, adding that oil-related taxes accounted for 22 percent which is N950 billion, while non-oil taxes generated within that period was N3.3 trillion.

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The collected amount is yet to be completely reconciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nami said.

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