FIRS boss begs Sanwo-Olu: Help, I can’t meet Buhari’s N8.5 trillion target!

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, may turn to an “emergency consultant” for the Federal Inland Revenue Service as its Chairman, Mr. Muhammad Nami, has run to him for help in meeting the N8.5 trillion target set for him by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Nami, who replaced Babatunde Fowler late last year, may run into trouble with Buhari as he looks very unlikely to meet the 2020 target.

Nami expressed his frustration at a meeting with the governor on Wednesday during which he pleaded for FIRS to be allowed to obtain “certain information” from the Lagos Internal Revenue Service to enable his agency to attempt to meet the target.

During the meeting with Sanwo-Olu, on the sides of the Federation Account Allocation Committee in Lagos, the FIRS boss said: “We want to request that the internal revenue in Lagos State share certain information with us so that we can collaborate in not only generating income for the country but also building capacity for the staff of FIRS and IRS, we feel without this collaboration we hardly can generate N8.5trillion that we have been instructed to collect by the president.”

Nami said the aim of the visit was to ensure effective performance of the service in meeting its target and in its request to share information, collaborate in building capacity as well as engage private sector on the Value Added Tax collection.

Responding to the Chairman on the N8.5 trillion target set by the President, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the country has the capacity to generate such amount but warned that it must be done cautiously.

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Responding, Sanwo-Olu told the FIRS boss to work harder to meet the target.

He said: “I am sure they know clearly that you can live up to those bills and N8.5 trillion sounds a lot but they know you have the capacity.

Sanwo-Olu, who debunked claims of multiple taxation in Lagos, stated that his administration would always improve on the ease of doing business in the State rather than stifle the economy with loaded taxes.

Sanwo-Olu promised to embrace and support the activities of start-ups who are scared of the tax burden associated with businesses.

He also urged Nigerians to pay their taxes regularly in order for the Government to attain a balanced development at all levels, which according to him, include social infrastructure, security among others.

The governor promised that Lagos State Government would continue with the existing relationship and further collaborate with the Federal Inland revenue Service in sharing information to aid revenue collection and ensure deliverables were met.

Sanwo-Olu lauded the Federal Government for considering the starte up businesses in the exemption threshold on taxation.

He said: “we will make sure that there is ease of doing businesses, especially start-ups, that are always scared that they have multiple taxation. There is nothing like multiple taxation in Lagos.

“It is clear that they are exempted but that doesn’t stop them from doing proper filing and ensure transparent reporting at whichever level of their business.

“We will also use this opportunity to encourage our citizens that it is only when they play their own part as responsible citizens both at the corporate and individual level that the government can come up and discharge its responsibilities.

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“Development is by tax and it is only when we collect reasonably amount of tax that we can introduce development both at infrastructure level and more importantly on security so we cannot but ensure that we collaborate and corporate with you,” he said.