20th September, 2022
By Ikenna Uwadileke
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has refuted claims it waived tax payments for top Nigerian companies.
Mr Muhammad Nami, the FIRS Executive Chairman, said the mandate of the service is to collect taxes due to the federation and the Federal Government.
His statement is in reaction to some media reports that some companies, including Dangote, Sinotruck Limited, Lafarge, and Honeywell, were granted tax waivers on pioneer status between 2019 and 2021 in the sum of N16 trillion.
According to a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media and Communication, Johannes Wojuola, the FIRS does not have the power or responsibility of facilitating or implementing tax waivers for investors in Nigeria.
“There are relevant agencies of the government that are charged with such a responsibility,” he said.
Nami said that the service was not unmindful of the objectives of granting tax waivers to investors.
“This includes helping to grow local companies, stimulating economic growth and earning investors’ confidence. I am confident that the companies that are now enjoying tax breaks will eventually exit shortly and begin to pay taxes to the Federal Government.
“This is as it is currently being done by the companies that have equally enjoyed such tax breaks in the past and are now paying taxes in hundreds of billions of Naira.
“Such companies will continue to pay taxes to the government so long as they remain in business.”
Furthermore, Nami said that the companies enjoying pioneer status would be exempted from paying only direct taxes on their profits.
“But will continue to act as agents for collecting and remitting indirect taxes (VAT, WHT) in the ordinary course of their operations,’’ he said.
He emphasised that FIRS remained focused on the task of achieving its mandate of assessing, collecting, and accounting for taxes due to the federation and the Federal Government.
“This task is challenging, more so at this time of global economic disruption occasioned by the Russia-Ukraine war and the pandemic.
“However, the management is steadfast in achieving the target set for it by the Federal Government.
“For instance, in 2021, the service surpassed its target by collecting an unprecedented amount of N6.4 trillion in taxes. So far this year, the service is poised to perform even better than its record for 2021, “he said.