Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Tunde Fowler

Nigerians would soon be requested to provide evidence of tax payment before they obtain passports.

That is according to the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Tunde Fowler.

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Fowler made the disclosure at the 136th meeting of the Joint Tax Board which had the theme, “Increased Inter-Agency Co-operation to Enhance Tax Compliance and Optimise Revenue Collection,’’ in Abuja.

“We did take a position and I believe it would be implemented in the very near future that before you get any services from the immigration department, renewal of passports etc, you’d have to show that you are a tax payer.

Not peculiar to Nigeria

“These things are normal all over the world and it would help us to serve Nigerians and Nigeria better.

“People believe that payment of tax is a burden and I’ll repeat that you only pay tax on income and profits.

“So, if you reside in Nigeria and you are benefiting from being a Nigerian resident, it is only fair that you contribute to the system that makes you enjoy that standard of living,” Fowler said.

He further revealed that the FIRS is set to increase the individual taxpayer data base by 10 million by December 31, 2016.

Improvement in tax remittance

“I’m glad with our co-operation. We’ve been able to attain 30 per cent of that. We’ve been able to get three million individual taxpayers across the nation.

“I’d like to congratulate Kano State for leading the pack by increasing the database by 944,000 followed by Lagos with 306,000 then Kaduna and Plateau,’’ he said.

The Corps Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Boboye Oyeyemi, lamented that the FRSC was being owed N700m for number plate production.

He also decried the high rate of fake documentation at ports, saying “if we can strengthen inter-agency collaboration, we’ll get more results now that the focus is on IGR.’’

Revenue agency urged to fight corruption

The Chairman of the Abia State Board of Internal Revenue, Udochukwu Ogbonna, urged the revenue generating agencies to cooperate digitally to ensure success and curb corruption.

Also, the Chairman of the Edo State Internal Revenue Service, Mr. Oseni Elamah, said “the FIRS should have a digital one-stop-shop accessible to all partners.’’

Some revenue generating agencies on Monday met in Abuja to curtail loss, stop corruption and increase proceeds to government coffers in 2017.

The event had all internal revenue service chairmen of the 36 states and the bosses of the Nigeria Customs Service. It also had the Nigeria Immigration Service in attendance.