The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has disclosed that a federal government waiver exempted fuel importing companies from paying tax on petrol, diesel and kerosene, even when they reaped trillions from subsidy payouts. The Executive Chairman of FIRS, Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru made the disclosure at the House of Representatives hearing on how years of subsidy were managed.
The disclosure is a pointer to the fact that the fuel importing companies which, for years, earned trillions of naira in fuel subsidy, failed to remit taxes on the product.
Mrs. Omoigui-Okauru said it was a government policy not to charge Value Added Tax (VAT) on the products to save Nigerians from paying heavily for the products. “Government has been very sensitive on the issue of tax on petroleum products which is a major source of revenue. A revised version of the VAT which may block that privilege is underway, and will be presented to the National Assembly shortly,” she said.
The House committee, led by Farouk Lawan, ordered the FIRS to provide a paper of authorisation and the names of all the companies that benefited from the waiver, as well as details of income and other taxes paid by the companies.
Meanwhile FIRS has surpassed its revenue collection target in 2010 with a collection in 2011 of N2.83trilion. The FIRS chairman made this known while addressing staffers of the organisation at Enlarged Management Meeting (EMM) of the agency. She disclosed that fiscal 2010 was an uncertain year for the country as the world economy was just beginning to recover from the global economic crisis while oil production and oil prices were picking up.
Despite this inclement operating environment, coupled with the Central Bank of Nigeria reforms in the banking sector which affected the economy, the FIRS boss said the Federal Government revenue collection agent surpassed its N2.5trillion revenue projection for the year with a whopping N2.83trillion revenue collection
The N2.83trillion, according to the executive chairman, was an increment of about 13 per cent above the projected revenue and almost 30 per cent over the total collection of N2.197trillion in 2009.
Mrs Omoigui-Okauru said the feat achieved by FIRS was made possible through of the support and commitment of President Goodluck Jonathan, the Federal Executive Council and the Federal Ministry of Finance which was very instrumental in obtaining the required approval from the Federal Executive Council for key projects.
Apart from the feat achieved in the revenue collected, the FIRS Chairman said the year was a landmark to the organisation in many ways, citing the approval of the National Tax Policy, the inauguration of Tax Appeal Tribunal and the hosting of the 31 Annual Technical Conference of the Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators, the largest organisation in the world as the landmark achievements recorded in fiscal 2010.