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The minister, who spoke at a recent stakeholders’ engagement forum organised by the Federal Inland Revenue service (FIRS), also said 75 per cent of registered businesses were not captured in the tax system.
She therefore urged taxpayers to come forward to help in pushing government’s drive to diversify the economy by promptly paying their taxes, which she said was the essence for the forum.
The capacity enhancement programme was designed to enhance the technical and human resources capabilities of the FIRS towards improving the non-oil revenue collection.
Okonjo-Iweala said for the past two years, 65 per cent of taxpayers have failed to file their reports to the authorities in charged. The failure, according to her, is responsible for the low tax to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio of12 per cent whereas countries like South Africa are doing more than 20 per cent.
The result of the rebased GDP, she said, was that the economy was now much more diversified than it was believed to be and that tax is one of the several areas which needed to be looked into for the improvement of the ratio of non-oil contribution to government.
Acting Executive Chairman FIRS, Kabir Mashi, noted that “FIRS has undergone significant reforms leading to improvement in overall tax policy, amendment and enactment of tax laws, improved staff welfare and working conditions, automation of tax processes and increased utilisation and deployment of technology in their operation adding that none of that would have been possible without the support and active participation of the various stakeholder groups.”