The Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami, has said that only 41 million people pay tax in Nigeria.
Nami stated this at the Public Presentation and Breakdown of the 2022 Budget in Abuja and lamented that despite the 41 million taxpayers in Nigeria, the country still earned a lower Personal Income Tax (PIT) than many African countries.
He said: “If you also compare that with South Africa where they have a total population of about 60 million people, with just 4 million taxpayers, the total PIT paid in South Africa last year was about N13 trillion. You can now see that these things are not adding up.
“The number of billionaires in Lagos alone is more than the number of billionaires in the whole of South Africa but yet what we generated as PIT in Lagos State was low.
“So if we don’t pay these taxes, there is no way the government will be able to provide the social amenities and critical infrastructure required for the wellbeing of the country.
“People are not willing to pay even when they are appointed as the agent of collection, whatever they have collected they find it difficult to remit.
“We assume that we are a rich country, I don’t think that is correct. We only have the potential to be rich, because we have a very huge population of about 200 million.
“If you look at it from the rate of taxes paid in Saudi Arabia with a population of 10 million people, the VAT rate is as high as 15 percent and what we have in Nigeria is just 7.5 percent.”