Tax Data: Buhari has given marching order to CBN, NIMC, others, says Osinbajo

#TtrackNigeria -To ensure full realization of the Joint Tax Board (JTB) initiative of building and consolidating national unified taxpayers database, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed all government agencies authorized to manage individuals or corporate data to fully cooperate with the JTB and release to the JTB all relevant data as the JTB might need.

Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo made this disclosure Monday in Abuja at the flag-off of the New Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) Registration System and consolidated national tax database programme.

Prof. Osinbajo noted that the JTB initiative fully aligns with the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) to increase national revenue and ease of doing business, hence President Buhari’s directive.

The new system which went-live today provides a one-stop-shop and consolidated database for Nigerian individuals and corporate entities for the purpose of tax administration.

Osinbajo, who lauded the initiative noted:  “All the agencies critical towards the success of these initiative: Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) all of them have been directed by Mr. President to provide full cooperation with the JTB especially the release relevant data to the JTB. I think that the JTB led by its Chairman, Babatunde Fowler, all the partners and stakeholders who have made this possible deserve our commendation for this giant leap”, he said.

Osinbajo who said that he was happy to be at the launch of the new national TIN registration system noted that the world is changing and that tax administration must not be left behind:

“The world is constantly changing and along with it, the acceptable ways of doing practically everything. As the international boundaries dissolve under the reality of globalizing world and as financial and economic activities increasingly transcends geographical limitation, tax administration itself must of necessity continually adapt.

“Tax administration is built around data. Without credible and comprehensive data, an efficient tax system is simply impossible. To function optimally, tax systems have to be aware of the importance of data: the number of eligible individuals, the volume of business and economic activities, the designs and strategies, to take advantage of these available data are also crucial. This is where the necessity of a proper identification of eligible taxpayers, whether they be individuals or corporate entities, a tax identification number is simply a vital instrument to be uniquely identified and to bring them into the tax net…

Whichever type of business it is, the tax identification number will life easier The new tax identification system will untilise available data of the variety of authorised identity management agencies and help build a database that is reliable and very viable. At the moment we have data from the Corprate Affairs Commission, the National Identity Management Commission, even from Telecommunications, all of that data is relevant to the tax authority. What this does is that it bring together all that data in one particular system known as tax identification number. Everyone of that data is now coordinated in one system. The ultimate outcome is increased revenue for the government and of course, the ease of doing business.

I am pleased to not that this new initiative aligns fully with the Federal Govermment’s strategic objectives as contained in our economic recovery and growth plan and all other documents which are meant to improve the economy”, Osinbajo said.

Chairman, JTB and Executive Chairman of the Feseral Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Tunde Fowler noted that new TIN Registration System would help tax authorities to achieve greater goals.

“Tax-revenue administration in the 21st century has evolved into a systematic and deliberate process that is underpinned by the availability of accurate and reliable data. It entails deliberate and strategic planning initiatives, well informed and adequately equipped tax-revenue managers who drive the process both on and off the field.

This new reality drives the desire by the JTB to ensure that the identification of individuals and corporate bodies in Nigeria is achievable. It is not only important that these records are available, it is equally important that the records are credible and reliable and that they are accessible under a secure environment, online real-time.

The role that data plays in today’s world cannot be overemphasized, and for the revenue potentials of the country to be maximally harnessed, it is essential that credible and reliable data is available for use. Such records are also essential to facilitate the ease of doing business and for the nation to achieve its overarching economic objectives in line with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP)”, Fowler said.

He said the JTB and stakeholders are confident that the new system will add immense value to tax-revenue administration in the country, not only in terms of processes and procedures, but in terms of efficiency and ensuring a coordinated and systematic approach towards managing revenue generation as well as tax information sharing between and among tax authorities both within and outside the country.

“The new system also provides immense benefits to the taxpayers. The consolidated database apart from providing a unique identity to the taxpayer also facilitates ease of compliance. It limits the incidence of double taxation and is a prerequisite for a number of transactions such as sale and purchase of immoveable property, registration of vehicles, applications for plot of land, import and export licence, registration as a contractor, entry visas among others. Ultimately, the system promotes the ease of doing business for both individuals and corporate bodies.

My deep appreciation goes to our partners and collaboration agencies; Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), Nigeria Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), as well as our Consultants for their cooperation and professional display of expertise that made today a reality.

While we are yet to take delivery of taxpayer data from some of the organizations mentioned such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) via the Nigeria InterBank Settlement System (NIBBS), and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), we believe that today’s ceremony will reinforce the need for us to work together as one to promote the Economic and Recovery Growth Plan of Mr. President. So we will like to thank them in anticipation of their commitment to release the required data to JTB”, said Fowler.

Fowler listed the achievements of the FIRS under his tenure.

“During the first tenure of this Government we can state with modesty the following achievements:

The expansion of the tax base from 10 million to 20 million taxpayers with the potential for an increase of up to 45 million before the end of the third quarter of 2019; A growth in the IGR of States by over 46.11% from N800.02 billion in 2016 to N1.16 trillion in 2018; A growth of FIRS collections by 53.81% from N3.30 trillion in 2016 to N5.32 trillion in 2018; with the 2018 total collection of N5.32 trillion being the highest collection ever in the history of the FIRS, while Non-Oil Revenue, with a collection of N2.85 trillion accounted for 53.63% of total revenue collection;

For the first time in the history of Nigeria, the Federal Government paid all outstanding PAYE tax liabilities owed by Federal MDAs from 2002 to 2016, totalling N135.8 billion to the various State Governments. We hope that this gesture will encourage State Governments to also promptly remit all Withholding Taxes and VAT due to the Federation Account; In the Tax Administration Section of World Bank ‘Ease of Doing Business’, Nigeria moved up positively by 25 points during the period and it is expected that the country would further move up the rankings by the time the review for 2019 is published;

The TIN Registration Go-Live event which has brought together all Tax Authorities with a common vision and goal, is poised to change the financial profile of Nigeria and particularly, lay a strong financial foundation to fund government at all tiers beyond aid, grants and borrowing”, he said.

Executive Secretary of JTB, Oseni Elamar thanked the Federal Government, the FIRS and other stakeholders for their support for the New TIN Registration System and pledged his commitment  towards the full realisation of the initiative.