Friday, July 30, 2021

Nigeria loses N100 billion annually to tax related corruption, says anti-graft group

Stakeholders said many actors in the information technology sector and multinational companies were in the habit of evading taxes,

• June 14, 2021

The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) has said Nigeria loses in excess of N100 billion yearly to tax-related corruption.

The anti-graft organisation, in a statement made available to Peoples Gazette on Monday, said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and other stakeholders at an anti-corruption situation room on Saturday highlighted tax manipulation and evasion as one of the most devastating sources of corruption in Nigeria.

In a communiqué issued after the event, stakeholders said many actors in the information technology sector and multinational companies were in the habit of evading taxes, asking the federal authorities to enforce an effective tax system.

“Corruption cannot be fought effectively unless Nigeria deals with tax fraud. Many individuals and corporate organisations evade or manipulate tax. They do this in collaboration with professionals like accountants and lawyers. 

“Tax remains the only steady source of income. Unless there is a transparent tax regime, more than N100 billion will be lost by Nigerians every year to tax related fraud,” the communiqué read.

On his part, HEDA Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, termed corruption a teething problem that has resulted in poverty, lack of jobs and growing wave of violence and extremism, asking Nigerians to work in unity to tackle corruption headlong.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission in April uncovered about 2,000 corporate entities involved in tax evasion while operating in Nigeria.

In May, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) disclosed its intention to start deducting tax liabilities from defaulters’ bank accounts.

FIRS’ move to deduct tax liabilities directly from bank accounts followed the rising debt profile of companies, corporations, ministries, departments, and agencies.

Abdullahi Ahmad, FIRS’ spokesperson, said the tax agency considered drastic measures to recover taxes and prosecute defaulters for wilful negligence, tax evasion, and unlawful conversion of government property.

He said the agency was working in line with Section 31 of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act, 2007 (as amended), to recover owed taxes from defaulters.

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