Economy

Don advises NASS to amend FIRS Act to expand its scope of operations

Prof. Jide Oladipo, a lecturer at the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, Abuja, has urged the National Assembly to amend the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Act to expand its scope of operations.

He disclosed this while speaking at a monthly policy dialogue organised by the office of Senior Special Assistant to the President on Policy Development and Analysis in Abuja.

Oladipo, who delivered a lecture, “Funding the Next Level Agenda: Challenges and Prospects”, said the gesture would allow FIRS to generate more revenue for the country.

“The National Assembly needs to amend FIRS Act to expand its scope of operations; there is currently lack of data on the number of taxable Nigerians.

“The FIRS has lots more to do; it has to improve on revenue collection because only those in formal sector pay income tax at present.

“For example how do we capture those in informal sector, the National Assembly has to amend the act to make that happen,” he said.

Oladipo also said the Federal Government should overhaul revenue generating agencies in the country to improve revenue generation.

“The federal government needs to overhaul revenue generating agencies to enhance their operations.

“We commend the NNPC for introducing reforms in its operations, but more still needs to be done.

“As it is now, the NNPC has lost many buyers of its crude; efforts must be made to look for new market so Nigeria can earn the necessary foreign exchange.

“The NNPC should also address the current low capacity utilisation of the refineries.
“It is sad that Nigeria is importing fuel from outside when we have refineries in the country,” he said.

Oladipo added: “Do we want to build new refineries or continue with old ones, I think we have to take a decision on this.”

He urged the federal government to also end the smuggling of fuel to neighbouring countries.

“We cannot continue to subsidise fuel for our neighbours’ consumption, I think government needs to deploy technology around borders to check this.

Oladipo also stressed the need for government to strengthen the whistle blower policy to help tackle economic saboteurs.

“The whistle blower policy should be strengthened to help tackle smuggling around our borders, it may also help in tackling large scale oil bunkering in Niger Delta,” he said.

Oladipo also advised government to strengthen the Treasury Single Account (TSA) to address abuse by officials.
“The TSA has proved to be one of the best government policies but more needs to be done on its operation.

“Presently, some officials are taking advantage of the loopholes associated with the system by denying government some revenue; that has to be addressed,” he said.

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