Senate kicks against N17 trillion loss on tax waivers 

Sharon EboesomiFebruary 19, 20245 min

The Chairman of the FIRS, Zacch Adedeji insisted on the stoppage of N2.7 trillion fresh tax credit assuring that he will cut the number of taxes from 62 to 8.

Senate kicks against N17trillion loss on Tax Waivers 
Zacch Adedeji

The Senate has expressed disapproval over the 17 trillion loss incurred on tax waivers within the last five years. 

As a result, it recommended that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) suspend the heavily exploited tax waiver programme and replace it with a rebating system.

The Senate Committee on Finance had expressed this displeasure during a meeting with the Chairman of FIRS, Zacch Adedeji on Monday.

The Senate’s concern about the allegedly misused tax waivers became evident when FIRS’s 2024 budget was presented to the Finance Committee.

This is even as Adedeji who projected N19.4 trillion as targeted total tax collection for 2024, insisted that the fresh N2.7 trillion Tax Credit planned for road construction in the country by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) should be stopped.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Sani Musa (APC Niger East), informed the FIRS Chairman at the budget presentation session that tax waiver misuse, which has cost the nation over N17 trillion in losses over the previous five years, should be stopped and replaced with a rebating system.

“Your projection of 19 trillion as total tax collection for 2024 is good when compared to N11.16 trillion achieved in 2023 but the senate believes that you can do more even to the tune of 30 trillion if required measures are put in place. 

“As impressive and encouraging the performance and projections of FIRS are under your leadership, this committee and by extension the Senate, on a serious note urge you to look at the direction of tax waivers largely being abused with attendant and avoidable losses being incurred on a yearly basis.

“Available records show that within the last five years, about N17 trillion have been lost by the country to tax waivers.

“It should be suspended and possibly substituted with a rebating system,” he said.

READ ALSO: FIRS boss condemns Tax Credit policy on Road Construction 

Meanwhile, in his presentation, Adedeji told the committee that FIRS, along with a committee appointed by President Bola Tinubu, would cut the number of taxes from 62 to 8, which according to him, would spare Nigerians from paying several taxes.

“President Bola Tinubu has seen the issue of multiple taxation as a pool of problems that is why he set up the presidential committee on tax reforms and fiscal policy

“As of today in Nigeria, we have 62 types of taxes being collected.

“The sad news about that is that less than eight out of the entire 62, accounted for 97 percent of the collection.

“We are already consulting and engaging the state government on it.

“At the end of the day, we won’t have more than eight or nine taxes that the state and federal government would be collecting,” he said.

Amidst the dispute surrounding the NNPCL’s implementation of the Tax Credit Scheme for road development, Adedeji maintained that the N2.5 trillion previously allocated to it, needed to be completed before considering any further funding. 

He said: “Regarding tax credit, what I said was that the programme is laudable but that the N2.5 trillion being spent on it by NNPCL should be exhausted before bringing fresh requests.

“N2.7 trillion fresh requests being made should not be entertained because all NNPC revenue should not be spent on roads when the Ministry of Works is there.”

STAR Check: Nigerians, particularly, constituents of Niger East district, can keep tabs on the legislative performance of Sen. Musa throughout the 10th senate here.

Sharon Eboesomi

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