By Adedapo Adesanya
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has launched a National Intelligence Gathering System in collaboration with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), which will primarily gather data and track tax evaders and defaulters across the country.
This was disclosed in a statement issued by FIRS’s Director for Communications and Liaison Department, Mr Abdullahi Ismaila, who said the Executive Chairman of the tax agency, Mr Muhammad Nami, was recently at the Abuja office of the ICPC on an inter-agency collaborative visit.
Mr Nami, when received by the ICPC Chairman, Mr Bolaji Owansanoye, explained that the new system would help to track tax evaders with a view to bringing them to book and make them pay their fair share of taxes to the country.
According to him, the intelligence gathering system will be Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-based and will be implemented in a collaborative effort with the ICPC and other anti-corruption agencies, adding that financial institutions will also play a key role.
He added that the system would help to tackle economy-based crimes, including money laundering.
“The ICPC is our critical stakeholder. We are improving our collaboration with the commission to track tax fraud and block all revenue leakages to ensure that we raise the revenue for the government to fund its budget.
“We need the data and intelligence which you have to help us track tax evaders and bring them into the tax net,” he stated.
He added that FIRS was also restructuring and revamping its system to enable it surpass its 2020 revenue target of N8.5 trillion from oil and non-oil taxes.
Speaking on the collaboration and new intelligence system, the ICPC boss, Mr Owasanoye, said the commission was open to the idea of sharing data with the FIRS in order to track tax evaders, defaulters and tackle illicit financial flow in Nigeria.
He said that doing this would enable the government to raise its revenue profile in order to fund development projects, added that the ICPC was doing its best to widen the tax net.
According to him, whenever a commission comes across any tax non-compliant company, such companies are referred to the FIRS,
“We want them to be captured in the tax net so that they continue to pay their taxes,” he added.
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