By Femi Onakanren
In the aftermath of its record breaking N10 trillion tax revenue collection in the 2022 fiscal year, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has continued to show that its historic performance was no fluke.
The recently announced 2023 half-year performance update is a clear pointer to this.
The FIRS seems to be on course to completely change the trajectory of tax collections and federal revenue diversification by its unrelenting drive to surpass itself regularly.
The FIRS’ 2023 Half-Year Collection Report showed that the Service achieved its target, 100%, for the first half of the year with a mid-year returns of N5.5 trn, as against the projected N5.3 trn target.
According to the report, tax revenue collected from the oil sector from January to June 2023, stood at N2.03 trillion, as against a target of N2.3 trillion; while non-oil tax collection stood at N3.76 trillion, as against a target of N2.98 trillion.
However, the most impressive part of the report was:
Mr. Muhammad Nami, Executive Chairman of the FIRS reported
” This half-year performance was achieved as a result of improved voluntary tax compliance by taxpayers, the continued improvement of automation of our tax administration processes, including the updated VAT filing processes; as well as our dogged engagement with stakeholders in both the formal and informal sectors of the economy.”.
The improved voluntary tax compliance on the part of taxpayers was a particular delight! This means the citizens are getting to understand the value and import of paying taxes. The efforts of the FIRS in educating the public are clearly yielding fruits.
The FIRS, as custodians of public trust, is doing its part to ensure that citizens are delivering on their obligations in the social contract with the government. Thus, the FIRS as an institution has become a reference tool for social accountability.
The improved collections mean the Federal Government has more funds at its disposal to drive the provision of social amenities, improve public infrastructure, and deploy progressive, people focused fiscal policies.
The march towards a better country needs the support and contributions of everyone. The fact that the FIRS is leading this impressive paradigm shift is an under-appreciated feather in the services’ ever improving cap.
Femi Onakanren is a Business Development and Socioeconomic Policy Specialist. He writes from Lagos