VAIDS; Nami’s Strides At Consolidating Reforms In FIRS

By ABUBAKAR YUSUF

The Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme VAIDS policy introduced by the federal government is being driven by the main Revenue collection agency , the Federal Inland Revenue Service FIRS, inconjunction with Joint Tax Board JTB under the leadership of Mohammed Nami, the Executive Chairman, of the service.

Considering all negative variables and inline with the new zeal by both government and its revenue generating agencies to mop up funds with a view to meeting its obligations, the need to invoke the statutory sections that brought about VAIDS after its inception through post.VAIDS became imperative.

This is also coinciding with the ongoing ceaseless reforms embarked upon in the last two years by the new FIRS with a focus on its primary aim of continuing to mop up legitimate tax funds, tied down by asymmetrical illegalities by disgruntled Nigerians and their foreign collaborators.

The ugly development despite persistent checks and balances introduced by the FIRS and the migration of its major payment platforms from analogue to digital that addressed and reduced human interferences to the barest minimum in all transactions.

With the matching order from the federal government, enabling laws through executive order 004 2017, enacted and enforced one year ago, the Revenue House along with Joint Tax Board JTB had fashioned out all areas of encumbrances that will preclude seamless collection of government taxes, stock piled for many years, with no concerted efforts by recalcitrant companies to meeting its obligations, while carrying out legitimate businesses with huge incomes interms of profits in Nigeria.

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With the renewed zeal after due diligence through awareness, seminars, talkshops and workshops among many other outlets of communication with three years moratorium, it is now needful to commence not only the process of ensuring compliance, but recovery of outstanding commitments from entities operating in Nigeria.

Payments after all the processes is expected to be carried out through multiple ways of enforcement by the two giant bodies powered by FIRS, after due assessment in accordance with relevant tax laws and subsequently, as prosecution process will also be adopted as last resort from non compliance on the part of debtor companies.

This is coming one year after voluntary declaration, immunity, amnesty and tax relief from government, but now confronted with myriads of financial constraints and demands, particularly in the payment of monthly salaries, social services and security.

With the new format of payments and recovery after the stakeholders in June , 2022, the Revenue service will have no choice as part of its recovery and payment strategy impose sanctions on unrepentant debtor companies, who had indulged in short changing Nigeria from its statutory earnings over the years.

The recovery of the outstanding liabilities by companies operating in Nigeria within the relief period is significant, particularly with the current situation of the country where debt servicing superceded the earnings of the country, a situation that does not augur well for a growing and developing nation like Nigeria.

With dwindling revenue from customs, CBN, NNPC and other sources of funding for monthly FAAC, with FIRS playing a leading role of providing monthly funding to the tune of 80%, precluding both social and economic instability at the national , subnational and local government areas especially in payment of workers salaries at all levels, the need to explore more tax avenue became sacrosanct.

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This is compounded with the performance of the global economies that had witnessed recession, low GDP, inflationary rates, other variables like the unabated COVID pandemic among many others militating against government revenues.

Having introduced relevant policies and programs to shore up the country’s revenue base two year down the line, with the introduction of Tax promax solution leading to yearly Revenue generation of 6 trillion from FIRS, other new policies like ‘Self service stations’, Tax contact centres, along with Digital Tax Drive among many others will redoubled efforts to jerk up the country’s revenue base through the new approach.

It is expected that with the usual enforcement and drive, the service is expected to double the country’s revenue collections from the current profile that will not jeopardise the monthly financial commitment of government across board, and provision of social services as well as infrastructural interventions.

With the current downward statue of tax payments from companies operating in Nigeria numbering about 68 Million, with 20 Million paying tax obligations according the National Bureau of Statistics NBS, it will be a complete disservice, unpatriotic and fraudulent of over 48 Million companies operating in Nigeria without paying their statutory taxes to the country.

With post -VAIDS, FIRS and JTB will be expected to close this critical gap within the shortest possible time after the introduction of the policy.

Having deployed Tax promax solution to mop up tax revenue to the tune of historic 600 Billion in June 2021, no doubt post- VAIDS will bring to an end the recurring and incessant reproachment of tax payers to government coffers in Nigeria.

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ABUBAKAR YUSUF Writes From Abuja, All inquiries to yus.abubakar3@gmail.com.

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