The Federal Government realised N3.9tn in tax revenue between January and September this year and this is N1tn higher than the N2.9tn realised in the corresponding period of 2017.
The Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr Tunde Fowler, disclosed this in a presentation made at the meeting of the African Union High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flow from Africa in Abuja on Thursday.
At the meeting, former President of South Africa and Chairman of the High Level Panel, Mr Thambo Mbeki, lamented that $50bn taken out of Africa was stunting the growth of the continent.
Fowler also stated that the FIRS had uncovered properties in Abuja belonging to 114 companies that had disclaimed them and on which taxes were not being paid.
“One hundred and fourteen companies claimed they were unaware of the land allocated to them, but the AGIS (Abuja Geographic Information System) has confirmed the ownership for all the cases referred to them and we will soon hand these cases over to the Attorney General of the Federation,” he said.
The FIRS boss highlighted that within a period of one year, the tax authority had realised N1tn more than it made in the same period of 2017 in a bid to recover all monies due to the government.
Concerning the issuance of tax notification to companies not complying with Company Income Tax, Fowler stated that the FIRS had issued 2,672 demand notices.
According to him, 653 of the companies are now filing their returns, while N2.98bn has so far been realised from demand notices on Abuja properties.
Speaking at the event, Mbeki lauded the efforts of Nigeria in the fight for the reparation of funds that had been illegally taken away from Africa, adding that there was a will across the continent for stopping illegal flow of funds out of the continent.
“We are focused on the need for the continent to generate the resources that are required to attend to issues of development. The continent is losing a lot of resources through illicit financial flows,” he stated.
The former South African leader said stopping illicit financial flows would not depend on what Africans do within the continent alone, but also on collaboration with other stakeholders outside Africa.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, also highlighted other efforts being made by the Federal Government to stop the illicit flow of financial resources out of the country.
She said, “The Federal Government is collaborating with several countries in terms of sharing information on Nigerians who own properties and bank accounts abroad. We also run a programme for the automatic exchange of tax information with the United Kingdom.
“In addition, we have signed agreements on the Multilateral Competent Authority on the Common Reporting Standard, which is a platform for exchange of financial accounts’ information. This will come into effect as soon as the legal framework is finalised.
“We are determined in the fight against illicit financial flows. We are therefore committed to fighting this on all fronts. To aid us in our efforts, it will be appreciated if the HLP will share its experiences in domesticating international best practices in the key sectors of our economy with respect to the IFFs.”
She added that by requiring companies of a particular size to publish operational and tax data for each country in which they do business, governments in Africa would be better equipped to check the incidence of aggressive tax planning strategies.
The Deputy Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Secretary, UNECA, Dr Abdalla Hamdok, said, “This (the illicit financial flow) has to stop.”
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, also informed the gathering that the Federal Government had in place institutions such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, the Code of Conduct Bureau and the Code of Conduct Tribunal to combat the menace of corruption and illicit financial outflow.
He also said the government had deployed technology such as the enforcement of the Bank Verification Number and put in place legislation such as the Mutual Legal Assistance law and the Proceeds of Crimes Act to fight the scourge.