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Merger of Customs, FIRS imminent–Report

If the recommendations of the National Tax Policy Review Committee are anything to go by, indications are rife that the Federal Government will merge the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). This, according to the Committee, is to sustain accountability and improve revenue generation.

Presenting draft of the policy at the Committee’s second stakeholders engagement in Abuja earlier this week, West Africa Tax Leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, explained that the committee agreed that the current system promoted multiple taxation, tax evasion and wastage.

Oyedele said “Part of our recommendation will be that FIRS and Customs should be merged; but not just them, but all revenue generating agencies at the federal level should be merged into one.”

He further explained that what exists now is not effective, adding that it duplicates the collection mechanism. “All the structures you have in FIRS is replicated in Customs, so cost of collection goes up. It also makes it easier for tax evaders to manipulate the system. You can provide information for customs and FIRS is not aware of it”.

“Having one revenue agency will flag all the information about a tax payer when he or she is paying tax. It will also ensure that leakages in the system are reduced. This is why we are recommending merger as part of the policy,” he noted.

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