The National Bureau of Statistics has said that the country generated a total of N1.1tn as Value Added Tax revenue in the 2018 fiscal period.
The amount is contained in the VAT report for the fourth quarter of 2018, which was released by the NBS on its website.
A breakdown of the N1.1tn VAT revenue showed that the government earned N269.79bn in the first quarter, N266.73bn in the second quarter and N273.5bn in the third quarter.
The report showed that the government earned VAT revenue of N298.01bn in the fourth quarter.
It said, “Other manufacturing generated the highest amount of VAT of N28.82bn, which was closely followed by professional services and commercial and trading, both generating N24.12bn and N16.02bn, respectively.”
According to the report, mining generated the least (N35.75m) and was closely followed by pharmaceutical, soaps, and toiletries, and chemical, paints and allied industries with N209.33m and N258.39m generated respectively.
The NBS said, “Sectoral distribution of VAT data Q4,2018 reflected that the sum of N298.01bn was generated as VAT in Q4 2018 as against N273.50bn generated in Q3 2018 and N266.73bn in Q2 2018, representing 8.96 percent increase quarter-on-quarter and 17.28 percent year-on-year.”
It stated that out of the total amount generated in the fourth quarter, N138.42bn was generated as non-import VAT locally while N47.89bn was generated as non-import VAT for foreign.
The balance of N111.71bn, according to the report, was generated as Nigeria Customs Service-import VAT.
In a related development, the Federal Inland Revenue Service said it had recovered over N33bn from firms that failed to remit the withholding tax and VAT they collected from consumers.
The FIRS said it had expanded the tax net in the last 18 months, adding that over 1.2 million business accounts that were hitherto not captured had been added to it.
The Chairman, FIRS, Mr Babatunde Fowler, who disclosed this in Lagos on Thursday during an interactive forum with manufacturers on the VAT and withholding tax, said over 10 million individuals were also captured during the period.
Noting that some firms’ accounts were frozen by banks for non-compliance, Fowler said the firms had collected withholding tax and VAT from consumers without remitting them to the government.
He said the agency carried out an audit on the firms after the amount they remitted to the government from their self-assessment was found to be inadequate, adding, “Till date, over N33bn has been paid from those accounts.”
In the process, he said the agency found over N96bn in unpaid taxes, with 50 per cent of them related to VAT.
He said, “What this means is that various operators who charged VAT did not remit them. But our main focus is to protect taxpayers whose withholding taxes were being deducted and not remitted as well as consumers whose VAT was being deducted and not remitted.
“One has to be aware that 85 per cent of the VAT goes to the state governments that are looking for money to pay salaries.”
The FIRS chairman said about 59,000 of the defaulting firms had no Tax Identification Numbers but were collecting VAT from customers.
He said the new system of tax filing would aid firms to know if their taxes had been remitted to the government or not, adding, “Within 45 days, if you pay withholding tax and you do not get an email confirming the payment, you should know that they have not remitted the tax.”
Fowler added that in the past two weeks, many of the defaulters had come up to regularise their accounts, adding that the agency had extended the period of grace to 30 days to allow a lot of people to do that.
He added, “We are not even saying they should pay everything. Let them make some payment of what they had deducted for withholding tax and VAT.”
He regretted that during the exercise, some accounts were frozen in error, adding that he had personally apologised to the firms involved and ordered the unfreezing of the accounts within 48 hours.
In his remarks, the President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mansur Ahmed, noted that the interactive session was timely and would help to resolve some of the challenges that manufacturers were encountering in their relationship with the FIRS.
He said, “I believe that this meeting will provide the platform for us to fully ventilate our experiences. This is important, given the role of manufacturing in the industrial and economic development of our country and the concomitant effect on employment generation, technology acquisition, and wealth creation.
“The association will like to assure you that we share the view of FIRS, which is part of the transformation initiatives of the present administration that seeks to create a more prosperous economy, through diversification of the economy and government revenue away from oil dominated foreign earnings, to more predictable sources that have the potential to accelerate the country’s economic growth.
“MAN appreciates what the FIRS has been doing, especially in the last three years; given the fact that revenue from taxes has significantly improved and is fast becoming another credible source of our central government’s yearly budget funding, thereby minimizing the vagaries and volatility associated with oil prices at the international market.”
Source: Ifeanyi Onuba and Anna Okon For Punch Newspapers