Nigeria loses N5.4trn to tax evasion by multinational companies in 10 years – FIRS

Uba Group

BY VICTORIA ONU, ABUJA

NIGERIA lost about N5.4trn through tax evasion by multinational companies operating in Nigeria, the Federal Inland Revenue Service has revealed.

The Executive Chairman of the Service, Muhammad Nami, who gave the figure in Abuja, said the revenue was lost within a 10-year period, covering 2007 and 2017.

He cited a 2014 report by the High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, which stated that “Nigeria accounted for 30.5 per cent of money lost by the continent through illicit financial flows.”

To check this revenue loss, he said the FIRS had created 35 additional Tax Audit Units in the country to stem illicit financial flow out of Nigeria and improve tax compliance.

He disclosed these on Monday in his opening remarks at a workshop on effective audit of multinational corporations for domestic revenue mobilisation in Nigeria.

The event, according to a statement by the Director, Communications and Liaison Department, Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad, made available to THE POINT, was organised by the FIRS in collaboration with the Tax Justice Network.

Although Nami observed that some multinational corporations were leading in tax compliance in various sectors, he expressed worries that “many rich Multinational Corporations do not pay the right taxes due from them, let alone pay their taxes voluntarily.”

He charged participants at the event to come up with a methodology that would be used to uncover illicit financial flows and provide an overview of related policy options for enhancing tax revenue collection in general.

He said, “At the FIRS, we are paying greater attention to tax audit in general and Transfer Pricing audit in particular in order to improve the level of tax compliance in the country.

“As a result, in the last one year, we have created more than 35 additional Tax Audit Units and deployed experienced and capable staff to take charge of these offices.”

He further stated that with signing of the 2021 budget of N13.58trn on 31st December, 2020 by President Muhammadu Buhari, and given the recent decline of oil resources, which had been the major revenue earner for the country, taxation was expected to continue to shoulder the Government’s Budget performance the way it did in 2020.

He added, “This underscores the importance of this workshop, as tax audit of Multinational Corporations is very crucial in Nigeria’s domestic revenue mobilisation.

“For me, this workshop is an important step towards boosting compliance level; and I have strong hopes that its outcome will further increase our efforts at driving tax compliance among Multinational Corporations in Nigeria.”