By Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad, Director, Communications and Liaison Department, Federal Inland Revenue Service
The final performance result in revenue collection by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for the first quarter(Q1, 2020) has been released, which revealed that the Service posted a new collection record of 15% increase for the quarter under review compared to the Q1,2019
The 15% increase in Q1, 2020 is a first in the FIRS first quarter collection history since its inception in colonial times. This is attributed to widespread policy reforms and institutional re-organisation initiated by the Executive Chairman, Mr. Muhammad Nami, since assuming office in December, 2019.
Traditionally, Q1 collection results have been notoriously low as a result of limited economic activities within the period, which business analysts trace to the festive hangover of the New Year celebrations, delay in budget presentation which was a New Year ritual in the country for decades under the Military, limited clarity about government policy directions after the budget had been presented and consumer spending caution and limited liquidity following lavish festivities of preceding December month and January 1 New Year celebrations.
The historic final performance results for Q1, 2020 are all the more remarkable as the period coincided with two adverse global developments on individuals, businesses and nations – a global fall in the price of crude oil price, which is Nigeria’s foremost cash cow; and a shutdown of the global economic system by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the final computation of the Q1, 2020 results, a comparative analysis of the two periods shows that the Q1, 2020 collection of N1,203,310,372,900.34 is over N156 billion higher than its corresponding Q1, 2019 collection of N1,046,889,787,060.27. This translates to 15% increase over the previous year’s first quarter collection.
The Q1,2020 performance result shows an astronomical increase in collection trends. Capital Gains Tax (CGT) recorded 568% increase to N643,935,849.06, from N96,408,740.90.
Gas Income Tax rose by 420% from N2,977,345,332.31 in Q1,2019 to N15,489,264,736.92 in Q1,2020. Even Petroleum Income Tax (PPT) increased by 9%.
Other taxes such as Companies Income Tax (CIT) increased by 152% – N102,610,369,777.73 in Q1, 2020 compared to N40,696,980,658.52 for the Q1, 2019; NITDEF rose by 522% – Q1, 2020 N691,206,855.85 to N111,037,797.16 for the Q1, 2019; and Stamp Duty increased by 40% from N3,386,648,663.85 in Q1, 2019 to N4,750,893,578.48 in Q1, 2020. Value Added Tax (VAT) increased by 27% at the Customs Level and 13% at the Non-Import Level.
The passage of Finance Act 2019 led to a drop in Withholding Tax rate from 5% to 2.5% in some sectors. The Act also tinkered with Pre-operational levy (levy paid by taxpayerstoobtain TCC) thereby resulting in a 5% collection in Q1, 2020, a drop from 7% in Q1, 2019.
With the full take-over of PAYE and PIT in the FCT by FCT-IRS, the FIRS lost all FCT collection, which led to the fall in both Pay As You Earned (PAYE) and Personal Income Tax (PIT) for Q1, 2020.
Without a doubt, this commendable performance is a direct result of the blockage of leakages and other wide-ranging reforms launched by the Executive Chairman, Mr. Muhammad Nami towards repositioning the Service for efficient service delivery.
It would be recalled that since taking the mantle of leadership at the FIRS, Mr. Nami has instituted a regime of policy reforms anchored on deployment of Information Communication Technology (ICT) to block tax leaks. Othee various measures were taken to motivate members of staff to positively change their attitude to work. These include the restoration of their functions which were previously outsourced to Consultants, the introduction of Authority to Incur Expenditure (A.I.E) and the commencement of implementation of a new organizational structure, which opened up the opportunity for eligible staff to be promoted, leading to round pegs being put in round holes for efficient service delivery.
The Executive Chairman commended members of staff at the FIRS for buying into the reforms at the Service and their hard work, which led in no small measure to the impressive Q1 2020 results.
Mr. Nami urged them to work even harder in the new quarter, saying he, the FIRS Board and, indeed, the nation expect a brighter outlook in revenue collections as on-going reforms and deployment of more ICT platforms take root in Q2 2020 even against the backdrop of current economic and operational challenges.