Tax Administration in Challenging Times and Future Outlook


Saturday, June 20, 2020 / 06:45 PM / by Muhammad Nami* / Header Image Credit: hallmarknews


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Being a Keynote Address By Muhammad Nami, Executive Chairman Federal Inland Revenue Service At The KPMG Webinar On Matters Arising From Implementation of Finance Act, 2019 held on 18th June, 2020


I like to commend the KPMG for taking the initiative of putting up a forum like this for experts and stakeholders to brainstorm on: Matters Arising from Implementation of Finance Act, 2019. You have also asked me to speak on Tax Administration in Challenging Times and Future Outlook.


These issues are topical, timely and instructive considering the current global economic trend. The world economy is facing serious challenges as a result of the effect of COVID-19 and avenues like this is, are therefore important to discuss how to refloat Nigeria's economy post-COVID-19.


Taxation and economy are like Siamese twins, they are almost inseparable and whatever affects one also affects the other. The Nigerian economy having been affected negatively, has made this period a challenging time for tax administration in Nigeria.


What The FIRS Is Doing

FIRS approach to tax administration in this challenging time is focused on cushioning the effect of the challenges on the economy and as well refloating the economy:

  • Continuous engagement with taxpayers and stakeholders. This includes provision of palliatives and taxpayer education and enlightenment;

  • Work together with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to develop suitable policies;

  • Deployment of technologies for ease and efficient tax administration;

  • Continuous motivation and encouragement of the FIRS workforce, while reducing the expenditure of the Service.


Palliatives Issued By The Service

  1. Waiver of Late Returns Penalty (LRP) for taxpayers who pay early and file later;
  2. Extension of Remittance of VAT to the last day of the month instead of on or before 21st of every month;
  3. Taxpayers facing challenges in sourcing for FOREX to offset their tax liabilities are given the option of paying in Naira at the prevailing Investors & Exporters (I&E) FOREX window rate on the day of payment;
  4. The period to file PIT returns for Foreign Affairs, Non-Residents, Military and Police has been extended to the 30th June 2020;
  5. Suspension of Field Audit, Investigations and Monitoring till further notice;
  6. Waiver of interest and penalties on addition tax liabilities which arises as a result of desk review, tax audit or investigation provided the tax liabilities are paid on or before 31st May 2020.


The Finance Act 2019

The Finance Act 2019 has been adjudged to be a landmark in the history of law-making in Nigeria. Stakeholders have applauded the move by the government to use the Finance Act to amend the extant tax legislation which hitherto remained un-amended even though many of its provisions do not conform with present realities.


The Act also has been said to be a visionary masterpiece as it seems to have foreseen the effect of the pandemic in 2020 and to have clairvoyantly provided palliatives, especially to small scale businesses through exemption from taxes.


I wish to further appreciate our stakeholders, which includes KPMG, for serving on the Finance Bill Drafting Committee to produce the Finance Act 2019. We also appreciate your contributions in producing the seven (7) Information Circulars developed pursuant to the Finance Act, 2019.


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Future Outlook of the Nigerian Economy

With sustained efforts of government in collaboration with critical stakeholders, the prospect of the Nigerian economy is looking bright and I believe that we will soon cross the worst stage of the effect of the pandemic.


Despite all challenges, FIRS Q1, 2020 collection was quite impressive. It is the best result from the same period ever posted by FIRS. We recorded a 15% increase from Q1, 2019 collection. The collection is a response to measures that include automation of key areas such as VAT and Stamp Duty. We are poised to do more going forward.



Once more, I thank the organizers and participants of this webinar. The Finance Act, 2019 though great, may not be a perfect legislation. Good enough, the Act will be a yearly ritual to reflect the realities of the economy. That is why the theme of this webinar is very important and critical. I enjoin all of us here to be open to discussions so that together, we can advance the interest of our dear country.


About the Author

*Muhammad Nami is the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS)


Download Here -  Finance Act 2019 Awaiting Gazette

Download Here -  Finance Act 2019 Gazetted

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