On Friday, the Executive chairman of the FIRS Muhammad Nami, disclosed at the public presentation and breakdown of the 2022 appropriation bill that only 41 Million Nigerians pay tax out of 200 million.
As of the second quarter of 2019, the FIRS had said Nigeria had only 20 million taxpayers, leaving at least 49 million people said to be evading paying tax.
Speaking at the event which held in Abuja, Nami said that despite the 41 million tax payers, Nigeria still earned lower than what countries with similar indices across Africa, generate from personal income taxes (PIT).
“If you also compare that with South Africa where they have a total population of about 60 million people, with just four million taxpayers, the total personal income tax paid in South Africa last year was about N13 trillion. You can now see that these things are not adding up,” NAN quoted him as saying.
“The number of billionaires in Lagos alone are more than the number of billionaires in the whole of South Africa, but what we generated as PIT by Lagos state was low.
“So, if we don’t pay these taxes, there is no way the government will be able to provide the social amenities required, the critical infrastructure required, for the wellbeing of the country.
“People are not willing to pay even when they are appointed as agents of collection; whatever they have collected, they find it difficult to remit.
“We assume that we are a rich country. I don’t think that is correct. We only have the potential to be rich, because we have a very huge population of about 200 million.
“If you look at it from the rate of taxes paid in Saudi Arabia with a population of 10 million people, the VAT rate is as high as 15 percent and what we have in Nigeria is just 7.5 percent.”
The FIRS chairman also said N4.2 trillion was the total tax collection “up till September 2021”, adding that oil-related taxes accounted for 22 percent which is N950 billion, while non-oil taxes generated within that period was N3.3 trillion.
He, however, said the collected amount has not been completely reconciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).