Against the backdrop of the public outcry over news reports that some companies, including Dangote Sinotruck Limited, Lafarge, and Honeywell, among others, benefited from a N16tr tax waivers on pioneer status between 2019 and 2021, the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami, on Monday said the Service is in the business of collecting taxes due to the federation and the Federal Government, not to grant tax waivers to any taxpayer in the country.
According to Nami, “FIRS does not have the power or responsibility of facilitating or even implementing tax waivers to investors in Nigeria. There are relevant agencies of government that are charged with such responsibility.”
He, however, noted that the Service is not unmindful of the objectives of granting tax waivers to investors, including “helping to grow local companies, stimulate economic growth, and earn investors’ confidence”.
The FIRS boss expressed confidence “that the companies which are now enjoying tax breaks will eventually exit shortly and begin to pay taxes to the Federal Government as is currently being done by the companies that have equally enjoyed such tax breaks in the past and are now paying taxes in hundreds of billions of naira. Such companies will continue to pay taxes to the government so long as they remain in business.”
Moreover, the companies enjoying the Pioneer Status, he stressed, “will be exempted from paying only the Direct Taxes (such as the Company Income Tax, Educational Development Tax) from their profits, but will continue to act as agents of collecting and remitting Indirect Taxes (like Value Added Tax, With Holding Tax) in the ordinary course of their operations”.
He further expressed his commitment to focus on the task of achieving the mandate of the Service which is to assess, collect, and account for taxes due to the federation and the Federal Government.
This, he noted, “is challenging, more so at this time of global economic disruption occasioned by the Russia-Ukraine war and the Pandemic. However, the Management is steadfast in achieving the target set for it by the Federal Government. For instance, last year the Service surpassed its target by collecting an unprecedented amount of N6.4tr in taxes. So far this year, the Service is poised to perform even better than its record for last year.”
He then called on the stakeholders to join hands with him to grow the nation’s economy.