Nigeria loses N5tn annually to tax evasion – Fowler
The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr Tunde Fowler, has said Nigeria loses about $15bn to tax evasion annually.
The $15bn, when converted based to naira on N358 to a dollar interbank market exchange rate, translates to about N5.37tn.
He said this on Wednesday during a meeting with tax experts across the globe to chart ways to combat offshore tax evasion through exchange of information regime.
A statement from the FIRS stated that at the meeting, Fowler said that Nigeria would implement the first Automatic Exchange of Information standard by 2020.
He said the regime was part of the country’s commitment to improve transparency in tax administration, increased tax revenue collection, enhanced effectiveness and efficiency in service delivery.
Fowler said there was a direct connection between tax compliance, domestic tax investigation, tax audit, information-gathering framework and the international infrastructure for exchange of information among tax authorities.
He said, “Nigeria had demonstrated her commitment to improve transparency around tax matters when she signed a declaration and joined the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information on August 17, 2017.
“Furthermore, to facilitate the process of implementing the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information under the Common Reporting Standard, Nigeria published the AEOI regulations in the official gazette of the federation.”
He also said the country finalised and issued CRS guidelines, constructed and finished a dedicated building for the operation of the AEOI and put in place the necessary Information and Communication Technology infrastructure to operationalise the AEOI processes.
“Nigeria has done all these to enable us to conduct the first exchange of information under the automatic exchange of information regime by September 2020.”
He urged countries in the ECOWAS sub-region not committed to implement the AEOI standards to take “necessary steps to do so, especially as the automatic exchange of information portend huge benefits for domestic resource mobilisation.”
He noted that increase in mobility of income and assets had created a challenge for tax administration and that government across the world would join efforts to address such challenge.
Fowler said the challenge offered a global response to the issues of international tax avoidance, tax evasion, illicit financial flows, money laundering and other harmful tax practices based on cooperation and use of advanced technologies to tackle the issues.
the budget envelop. This, when out in plain terms, is how much revenue that is available to spend on public service and investments in human capital.”