Local and foreign corporations are owing the Nigerian government over N7 trillion in taxes, limiting the government’s revenue and helping to fuel massive borrowing, the head of the country’s financial intelligence unit has said.
The Director of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Modibbo Tukur, said the companies are partly responsible for the rise in the debt profile of the country.
Mr Tukur said the NFIU carried out an analysis of firms operating in Nigeria to arrive at the figure.
The amount is about half of Nigeria’s total budget for 2021 which had a deficit of over N5 trillion. The proposal for 2022 has a revenue shortfall of more than N6 trillion and the government said it will borrow to close the gap as it has done over the years.
Speaking on Tuesday shortly after defending the NFIU’s 2022 budget proposal before the Senate committee on anti-corruption, Mr Tukur said the tax analysis his agency did covered between 2010 and 2020.
He said the companies, mostly in the oil and gas and telecoms sectors, had a total inflow of over N76 trillion within the period, requiring a projected payment of over N3.9 trillion as value added tax (VAT).
The firms’ total outflow was over N72 trillion with a projected withholding tax of over N3.7 trillion.
Mr Tukur said the analysis, which was done for the Federal Inland Revenue Service, (FIRS), will also be submitted to the Federal Ministry of Finance for further action.
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He expressed the hope that all the companies involved will be made to reconcile their accounts and pay all taxes expected of them.
“If compliance is still weak, this will be escalated to the Presidency, the National Assembly, EFCC, ICPC and even the Corporate Affairs Commission,” he said.
Already, the FIRS is locked in a legal battle with the satellite television provider, South Africa-based Multichoice, over unpaid tax.
The tax body accuses Multichoice of owing company income tax of N1.2 trillion and VAT of $342 million.
The firm on Wednesday lost an appeal against the FIRS at the Tax Appeal Tribunal, and has filed another appeal at the Federal High Court.
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