The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has stated that an improved method of collecting taxes in the country can generate the revenue needed to finance the N6.060 trillion 2016 Budget and even more.
Dogara therefore reiterated the importance of a strong tax regime aided by an efficient and virile accounting system in the successful diversification of the economy.
He stated this yesterday in Abuja through his deputy, Hon. Yusuf Lasun, while declaring open an investigative public hearing on the Accounting Procedures of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) organised by the House Ad-hoc Committee set up for that purpose.
He said the hearing was necessitated by a resolution of the House with a view to ascertaining the accounting framework currently in use by the FIRS and examine its effectiveness in line with current economic realities
“You will recall that the House on its first sitting on Tuesday, 11th August, 2015 reached a resolution that mandated this Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the accounting procedures of the Federal Inland Revenue Service with a view to ensuring adherence to constitutional and statutory provision.
“This investigative hearing is coming at a time when our economy is facing acute revenue shortfall owing to the global downturn in the oil market. So there’s no better time that we must diversify our revenue base and strengthen our revenue collection system than now.
“The negative consequences of our mono-product economy as visited on us have created the need for more revenue sources targeting alternatives going forward. Accordingly, unless urgent steps are taken to make our tax system both levy and collection more effective, there’s a great difficulty ahead of us”, Dogara said.
He stressed that the exercise was part of legislative contribution towards supporting government effort at repositioning the economy for the purpose of meeting the ever growing needs of the populace with regards to effective budget financing.
“This exercise is therefore part of legislative effort aimed at complementing government plans toward boosting it’s revenue generation as the nation strives to check it’s over dependent on oil. I’m of the firm belief that a properly structured and efficient revenue service could generate and even surpass the N6.060 trillion required to fund the 2016 budget.
“This is not an over-ambitious expectation, bearing in mind that other countries that are less endowed than Nigeria are posting higher figures from internally generated revenue to finance their budgets,” he said.
Earlier, the chairman of the Ad-hoc committee, Hon. Michael Enyong, in his welcome address notified participants of a motion which came before the House disclosing that in 2014, revenue from the FIRS amounted to N4.69trillion while the National budget for that year stood at N4.669trillion.
“We can infer from this that if revenue from tax is properly administered transparently, accountably, diligently, it will be sufficient to fund the national budget.