TETFUND lauds FIRS’ increase on tax collection

The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has praised the management of Federal Inland Revenue Services(FIRS) for increase on education tax collection.

TETFUND Executive Secretary, Mr. Sonny Echono, made the commendation during the TETFund/FIRS annual Interactive Forum held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Thursday.

Echono, who spoke through the Director, Strategic Planning and Development, Mr. Erivwo Irene, said that the 2022 interactive forum with the theme “Boosting Education Tax Collection for the Growth and Advancement of Tertiary Education in Nigeria” was a noble cause between the agencies.

He said TETFund has recognized the enormous contribution of FIRS mandate, as the foremost and critical revenue service of the Federal Government, from which they, as a funding agency of the same government, derive their intervention and operational funds.

Echono said that as the Executive Secretary, he would be committed to the mandate of the agency and also ensure transparency and accountability to the government, citizens and stakeholders which FIRS is top on the scale of stakeholders.

He said: ‘We will, therefore, continue to encourage this annual interactive forum with the FIRS which has been a veritable platform to discuss issues that are pertinent to the Education Tax (EDT) collection and also showcase the activities and impact of the EDT collection in the tertiary education landscape of the nation.

“In deed, the need to boost “Education Tax (EDT) Collection”, especially at this economically challenging period can never be overemphasized.

“This is in view of the pivotal role it plays in the nation’s educational system as deployed by the fund and is one of the many vital reasons this interactive forum is highly essential in the general operations of the fund.”

He said that tax collections have direct correlation to earnings and subsequently, the growth of any functional economic system’.

“Invariably, therefore, the growth of
education tax which forms the bedrock of TETFund’s vision and mission in the nation’s education is one that is consistently on the front burner.”

Echono explained the need for TETFund and the FIRS to increase their drive in education tax collection to enable the fund meet up with the challenges and its commitment to the development of tertiary education systems.

He said the TETFund in 2021 received an EDT collection of N189 billion, which was considerably lower than the previous year’s collection and posed a serious challenge to the intervention activities of the agency for year 2022.

He explained: “As at September this year, the education tax collection was reported to have recorded over N309 billion, exceeding the N305 billion target set by the FIRS for the year.

“This explains my earlier excitement and hope of an
improved revenue generation ultimately attaining a N500 billion yearly EDT collection.

“This optimism can be situated in the consistent position of President Muhammadu Buhari when he stated that, “we do not have a debt sustainability problem, but a revenue challenge which we are determined to tackle to ensure
our debts remain sustainable.”

In his remark,the Executive Chairman, FIRS, Mr. Muhammad Nami, also commended the efforts of the Board of Trustees and Management of TETFund for steadfastly organising the annual forum.

Nami, represented by Mr. Hamisu Mohammed, FIRS Coordinator for Rivers, Delta and Edo, said despite the economic headwinds from the negative consequences of COVID-19, rising insecurity and effects of the Russia-Ukraine war on the global economy, FIRS had continued to make progress in revenue mobilization.

According to him, January to September, 2022, FIRS has collected N7.5 trillion which is a significant improvement on the total collection of N6.4 trillion for the entire 2021.

“Non-oil taxes accounted for N4.3 trillion while Petroleum Profits Tax accounted for N3.1trillion. It is clear that the reforms undertaken since 2020 have started yielding the desired results.

“Tertiary Education Tax also improved signiticantly since the beginning of 2022, we have collccted N309 billion as of September 2022, which is above the total N305 billion budgeted for the full year.

“I assure you that we will continue to ensure that no revenue gap is lett uncovered in our quest to improve tax administration with particular emphasis on full deployment of technology across our service lines and internal operations.

“I assure you all that the FIRS will continue to support TETFund to achieve her mandate of providing critical support to tertiary institutions in Nigeria.”

He, however, called for collaborative partnership from stakeholders to ensure that revenue leakages are fully blocked.

SOURCE: SUNNEWS

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