As often suspected and speculated by analysts, big multi-nationals have been robbing Nigeria blind, the chief tax man and Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mallam Mohammed Nami has confirmed in Abuja.
He told participants at a workshop that though there were a few good and respectable multi-national corporate citizens, a bulk were tax thieves.
And to stem the illicit financial flow out of Nigeria and improve tax compliance rate in the country, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has created 35 additional Tax Audit Units in the country last year.
Nami, on Monday, in his opening remarks at a “Workshop on Effective Audit of Multinational Corporations for Domestic Revenue Mobilisation in Nigeria,” organised by the Service in junction with the Tax Justice Network, observed that some multinational corporations were “leading in tax compliance in various sectors” but expressed worries that “many rich Multinational Corporations do not pay the right taxes due from them, let alone pay their taxes voluntarily.”
Charging the workshop to come up with “a novel methodology that would be used to uncover illicit financial flows” and “provide an overview of related policy options for enhancing tax revenue collection in general,” Mr. Nami also disclosed that “between 2007 and 2017” Nigeria was “reported to have lost over US$178 billion (about N5.4 trillion at today’s rate) through tax evasion by Multinationals” doing business in the country.
He also cited a 2014 report by the High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, which stated that “Nigeria accounted for 30.5% of money lost by the continent through illicit financial flows.”
His words: “At the FIRS we are paying greater attention to tax audit in general and Transfer Pricing audit in particular in order to improve the level of tax compliance in the country. As a result, in the last one year, we have created more than 35 additional Tax Audit Units and deployed experienced and capable staff to take charge of these offices.”
He further stated that with signing of the 2021 budget of N13.588 trillion on 31st December, 2020 by President Muhammadu Buhari and given the recent decline of oil resources, “which had been the major revenue earner for the country, taxation is expected to continue to shoulder the Government’s Budget performance the way it did in 2020. This underscores the importance of this workshop, as tax audit of Multinational Corporations is very crucial in Nigeria’s domestic revenue mobilisation.
“For me, this Workshop is an important step towards boosting compliance level; and, I have strong hopes that its outcome will further increase our efforts at driving tax compliance among Multinational Corporations in Nigeria.”