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FIRS blames civil servants, politicians for illicit financial flow

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FIRS boss reveals how multinationals cheat Nigeria of N3.7tn annually

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has revealed that corruption and abuse of office by civil servants and political public office holders remained a major enabler of Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) from the country.

The Executive Chairman of FIRS, Mr Muhammad Nami, stated this in Abuja on Wednesday, March 3, at a virtual meeting on the review of “Report on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) in Relation to Tax.”

Nami said that unwholesome practices of multinationals, financial institutions, and oil and gas companies remained the biggest component of IFFs in Nigeria.

“We are striving to reduce the money laundering, terrorism financing, illicit flow of money from Nigeria, and effects of beneficial ownership.

“As it is causing economic downturn which has an unprecedented effect on the economy and lives of Nigerians,” he said.

Nami explained that as of September 2019, the amount recovered from defaulting taxpayers was about N37 billion.

According to him, companies and partnerships not paying full taxes are 6,722 while those to enforce taxes are 4500.

He, however, said that “stiffer laws and regulations will be enacted to deter future IFF actions by people determined to engage in such acts most especially in the new trend of virtual currencies which is a new technology on illicit financial flows”.

In his remarks, the ICPC Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, said that taxation had played a strategic role in the economy of states hence the need for the gathering.

Read also: FIRS makes N66bn from stamp duties in five months

He added that for Nigeria, taxation was more important as the country was struggling to de-emphasise the importance and relevance, and independence on oil revenue for revenue from taxation.

“We must recognise the rapidly changing world and the need to be on top of our games as a nation.

“The taxman of today if he must remain relevant must build his capacity in areas of technology management, solution architects, and an astute relationship manager.

“Martin Luther King Jr said `Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter’.

“We must not only speak out but we should ACT now.

“We will use the recommendation to push for policy reforms that will help block the loss of financial revenue to our country and where there is a need for corruption in the commercial transaction,” he said.

He said that beyond revenue generation if successfully implemented, measures to curb IFFs would also help to tackle funding of terrorism, political instability, other forms of insecurity and crimes.

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