Nigeria's National Tax Policy
Any agenda for the new FIRS' Chair?
The NTP should not become a redundant policy document or reference tool only for academics. The NTP should be the “bible” that guides the thinking, formulation and execution of strategies relevant to taking tax administration at all levels (assessment, collection etc) and the tax system at large to optimum heights.
It is no longer news that “a new Chief Tax Administrator” has been appointed for the nation. This is Mr. Tunde Fowler, acting executive chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). He has since settled down for business at the FIRS. One of his first major actions was the meeting with stakeholders to discuss the administration's mandate to significantly improve tax collection levels at the FIRS. Different options and strategies will be employed and deployed to actualize this mandate.
Given Mr. Fowler's antecedents as the immediate past executive chairman of Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), there is reasonable confidence as well as expectation that together with his team, he will deliver. However, it needs to be emphasised that the drive to ramp up tax revenue collection capacity of FIRS would naturally occur within a defined system.
One of the primary essence of the National Tax Policy (NTP) is that it is expected to “provide a direction for Nigeria's tax system and establish a framework that all stakeholders would subscribe to and to which they would be held accountable.” This implies that whatever strategies and/or options adopted to deliver the mandate of the new executive team at FIRS, such must be reflective of the letter and spirit of the NTP.
Naturally, the adoption of the NTP in 2012 raised the following key questions around Nigeria's tax system given that there are existing tax legislation in operation within the polity.