President Muhammadu Buhari has mandated Ministries, Departments, Agencies and business enterprises to grant access to the Federal Inland Revenue Service to their systems for the purposes of tax collection nationwide.
A statement sent to Decency Global News by Director Corporate Communication, Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad , FIRS on Thursday said President Buhari issued the mandate while delivering his address as the Special Guest of Honour at the First Annual National Tax Dialogue, organised by the FIRS at the old Banquet Hall, Aso Rock Villa Abuja.
The President was said to have also mandated the FIRS to “speedily put all measures in place to fully implement programmes to stamp out Base Erosion and Profit Shifting in all of its ramifications and generally automate its tax processes.”
Buhari also urged the FIRS to fast-track its digitalisation of the tax collection process.
“I have directed all government agencies and business enterprises to grant FIRS access to their systems for seamless connection. We all are now living in a fast digitalising world,” Buhari said.
He added that “business transactions are continually being migrated from “brick and mortar” locations to digital places or spaces. It is therefore incumbent upon tax authorities to adopt digital means to efficiently track taxable transactions for the purpose of collecting taxes”.
Also, President, African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwunmi Adesina, who delivered the keynote address at the Tax Dialogue, assured the government “that the AfDB would support the FIRS to modernise the tax collection processes in Nigeria through capacity building.”
In her opening remarks at the Dialogue, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, highlighted some provisions of the Finance Act 2020, stating that a number of these provisions were enshrined in the Act in order to help businesses, especially SMEs, recover from the adverse effects of COVID-19.
She said tax compliance was key to national prosperity, noting that government was determined to minimise the incidence of tax evasion through suck leakages as cross-border transactions through maximum use of technology.
The Finance Minister urged the audience to generously contribute their ideas during the dialogue in order to improve the nation’s tax system.
Executive Chairman, FIRS, Muhammad Nami, underscored the importance of the dialogue, noting that the FIRS would march on to digitalise the tax process fully.
He canvassed the cooperation of the three tiers of government, the citizens and corporate organisations in the country for the success of the digitalisation drive.