Babatunde Fowler, Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), says the tax collector received N2.467trillion from the oil sector in 2018.

He disclosed that the body earned N2.85trillion from non-oil sources as well. In all, FIRS earned N5.32trillion in 2018, N1.4trillion below its N6.7trillion goal for 2017. Still, the body has a target of N8trillion in 2019, 1.3trillion higher than its 2018 target. Fowler made these details available at the opening of a stakeholders retreat organised by the body in Lagos on Monday.

Speaking on the comparison between oil and non-oil collections since 2015, Fowler said: “We are also quite aware that our focus has to be on non-oil revenue and in the past three years, when you look at the percentages in terms of contribution of oil tax revenue, in 2015 non-oil contribution to tax revenue accounted for 65 per cent, in 2017 it was 62.5 per cent and in 2018 it was 53.62 per cent. So, certainly, our non-oil tax revenue is growing in absolute figures, from 2016 to 2018. In 2016 it was N2.149trillion, in 2017 it was N2.5trillion and in 2018, N2.85trillion.

“That does not mean we have left behind the oil tax revenue; it has improved from N1.5trillion in 2016 to N1.52trillion to N2.467trillion in 2018. We collected a total of N5.320.52trillion, which was an increase of N1.292trillion over the collection of 2017, making it the highest in the history of the Federal Inland Revenue.

“In actual figures, in 2016, we collected N3.3trillion, 2017 was N4.027trillion and in 2018, we realised N5.320trillion. He explained that the body collected four per cent in cost on non-oil revenue for the year in focus. We also collected four per cent in terms of cost of collection, but only for non-oil revenue collected. On all revenue collections, we do not get any commission and we have been able to make sure that our services are more efficient and convenient to tax payers. According to him, in 2016 tax collection cost was 2.6 per cent, in 2017 it was 2.49 per cent and in 2018, it was 2.14 per cent- a trend he attributed to the "agency’s efficiency and technology deployed to tax collection".

On the 2019 milestone, Fowler said: “The 2019 budget has not been approved but we hear in the corridors of power that the target for FIRS is in the region of N8trillion. And with their support and the support of all tax payers, we believe it is achievable".

The former head of revenue collection in Lagos State said Value Added Tax (VAT) crossed the N1trillion mark in 2018, thanks to the automated collection method introduced. Fowler described taxes as the most sustainable means of revenue for government, stating that non-oil revenue had increased as a result of the improved performance of the economy excluding petroleum.

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