The Executive Chairman of Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Muhammad Nami, on Monday said the country lost over $178 billion (about N5.4 trillion) through tax evasion by multinationals doing business in the country between 2007 and 2017.
Nami, at a workshop on effective audit of multinational corporations for domestic revenue mobilisation in Nigeria, which was organised by the service in partnership with the Tax Justice Network, also said the service has created 35 additional tax audit units over the last one year to stem illicit financial outflows as well as improve tax compliance rate among corporations.
He said many “rich multinational corporations do not pay the right taxes due from them, let alone pay their taxes voluntarily.”
He, however, stated that some of the companies were “leading in tax compliance in various sectors.”
Citing a 2014 report by the High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, the FIRS boss stated that “Nigeria accounted for 30.5 per cent of money lost by the continent through illicit financial flows.”
“At the FIRS, we are paying greater attention to tax audit in general and transfer pricing audit in particular in order to improve the level of tax compliance in the country.
“As a result, in the last one year, we have created more than 35 additional tax audit units and deployed experienced and capable staff to take charge of these offices,” he added.
Nami, in a statement by the Director, Communications and Liaison Department, Dr. Abdullahi Ahmad, said with the signing of the 2021 budget of N13.58 trillion by President Muhammadu Buhari and given the recent decline in oil resources, the major revenue earner for the country, taxation is expected to continue to shoulder the government’s budget performance the way it did in 2020.
This, he said, underscored the importance of the workshop, particularly as tax audit of multinational corporations remained crucial in the country’s domestic revenue mobilisation efforts.