Technology, the future of tax administration – Fowler

By: Elizabeth Christopher

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Dr Babatunde Fowler, Chairman Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue service, Mr. Babatunde Fowler has said that technology is the future of tax administration in Nigeria.
Fowler who said this when a delegate of the Areas Youth Forum (AYF) led by its President Gambo Ibrahim Gujungu paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja, added that due to the critical role the ICT will play in the work of the Service, it launched the IT solution that has simplified tax payment.
According to him: “it will ensure that all Nigerians carryout registration, pay all their taxes without visiting any of our offices. This solution can be used anywhere in the world.
“From the time you registered your business with the CAC, you get you tax ID, pay your stamp duties online.”
Mr. Fowler insisted that the only sure revenue is tax revenue saying that “we complain that we don’t have good infrastructure, good services, the truth is that without revenue those things can never be provided, no matter how much we complain.”
FIRS helmsman noted that due to over reliance on oil revenue, a lot of Nigeria did not pay taxes while some who paid taxes did not pay correctly.
He, therefore said that the tax agency has produced books taken tax education to schools to teach the future generation the importance of paying tax.
“So the generation that is coming behind us who are still in primary and secondary school are being taught through our comic books on taxation the benefit of paying tax. That it is not something they should not be afraid of when they grow up,” he said.
He added that with the new tax database, where both corporates and individuals reside, people will be able to transact businesses anywhere across Nigeria.
“So you don’t have to carry ID card with you as you can transact your business seamlessly across the nation.
In his remarks, the AYF President, Gujungu, commended the Fowler led  FIRS management for the impressive successes recorded in revenue generation, which has never happened in the history of Nigeria.
“You have in your own stylish and strategic ways expand the revenue generation environment, without doubt, we are proud to say that Fowler has become a household name in Nigeria as far as revenue generation is concern.
“Worth mentioning is your contribution to the development and uplifting revenue generation in Lagos that brought you to limelight, and which consequently led to your well-deserved appointment as Executive Chairman, FIRS,” he said.
Listing the achievement of the agency since Fowler assumed the helms of affairs to include: Expand our National Tax Base from 10 to 20 million, with a potential increase to 45million; Increase State IGR by over 46.11% that is from N800bn in 2016 to N1.16trn in 2018; payment of 15 years outstanding PAYE tax liabilities of MDAs; upward movement by 25 points in the Tax Administrations Section of World Bank ‘Ease of Doing Business.
“FIRS recorded the highest ever collection from N3.30 trillion in 2016 to N5.32 trillion in 2018; with the Non-Oil sector revenue contributing almost 54% of our total revenue collection; Launching of Consolidated National Tax Data Base for ease of access to Tax Payers information; FIRS under your leadership made tax processes more efficient and user friendly with the introduction of six electronic means of payments; Most importantly and of recent, FIRS generated about N40 trillions in the first three quarters of 2019 higher than the 2018 collections made by the Agency,” he added.
Gujungu noted that with the effort being put in by the management in generating revenue, the future is bright for Nigeria’s tax revenue administration.
Suzan O