President Muhammadu Buhari has directed Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs), and other business enterprises to grant the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) access to their systems for nationwide tax collection. The directive came while the president delivered his address during the First Annual National Tax Dialogue by FIRS, at the old Banquet Hall, Aso Rock Villa in Abuja.
“I have directed all government agencies and business enterprises to grant FIRS access to their systems for a seamless connection. We all are now living in a fast digitalizing world.”
“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,” the President said.
President Buhari also urged the FIRS to fast-track the digitalization of the tax collection process and ordered the FIRS to “speedily put all measures in place to fully implement programs to stamp out Base Erosion and Profit Shifting in all of its ramifications and generally automate its tax processes.”
While delivering his keynote address, the President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Mr. Akinmunmi Adesina assured the government “that the AfDB would support the FIRS to modernize the tax collection processes in Nigeria through capacity building”.
The Executive Chairman, FIRS, Mr. Muhammad Nami in his welcome address explained that the digitalization process being developed to enhance activities of FIRS, saying "The FIRS started the journey to automation several years ago when it launched “Project Fact”. Several other initiatives were launched to further take advantage of evolving technology in taxpayer registration, online payment platforms, remote filing of returns, etc. However, there was very limited success with the various initiatives due to an inadequate statutory framework.
“A quantum leap was achieved with the 2020 Finance Act which copiously provided legal grounds for the deployment of technology in tax administration. The Service is grateful to the President, the leadership of the National Assembly, the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and all other stakeholders that worked together to enact the necessary laws.
“The Service is taking advantage of the new law to embark on studies (with the assistance of friendly tax authorities and international tax organizations) with a view to developing a robust digitalization roadmap. The roadmap will enable the Service to digitalize its whole operations (end-to-end) in a systematic, coherent, and efficient manner.
“There is so much to look forward to in the coming years. The FIRS is starting this decade with the resolve to leapfrog tax administration into the digital age. Ladies and gentlemen, we are banking on your continued support as we embark on this onerous journey.”