N10tn VAT Rakes In Under Buhari – NBS

By Clement Alphonsus

From the collection of Value Added Tax, the Federal Government has raked in N10.1tn under the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

This comes against the backdrop of the advice by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, that the incoming government should increase the VAT from the current 7.5 per cent to 10 per cent.

VAT is a 7.5 per cent consumption tax administered by the Federal Inland Revenue Service when goods are purchased and services are rendered, and it is borne by the final consumer.

The country earned N759.4bn in 2015, N777.5bn in 2016, N972.4bn in 2017 and N1.1tn in 2018.

VAT collections in 2019 amounted to N1.2tn, N1.5tn in 2020, N2.1tn in 2021 while N2.5tn was paid in 2022.

It was reported that the significant increase in VAT collection in the past two years is not unconnected with the decision by the Federal Government in 2020 to increase the VAT rate from five per cent to 7.5 per cent. This was part of the tax reforms included in the 2019 Finance Act meant to help the government achieve its revenue projections.

Meanwhile, economists have cautioned against raising the VAT from 7.5 per cent to 10 per cent by the incoming administration, as they argued that it would stifle the country’s economic growth.

The finance minister who made the call during a courtesy visit to the headquarters of Voice of Nigeria in Abuja recently, had said, “VAT is one of the ways to increase revenue and we still have to increase VAT because, at 7.5 per cent, Nigeria has the lowest VAT rate in the world, not in Africa, in the world.

“So, tax compliance has increased. As a result, we have also adjusted our VAT rate from five per cent to 7.5, even though our target was 10 per cent. But you know how it is in Nigeria, we are targeting 10 per cent by the second year, we did so to increase revenue.”

Reacting to this, the Director, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, Muda Yusuf, said the advice was coming too early considering the previous increase in 2020.

He said, “The revenue performance from VAT has generally been excellent in recent years. My view is that it is perhaps too early to review it again, especially in light of all the challenges that businesses are facing.

“The better thing is to bring more people into the tax net than to impose more burden on those in the tax net.”

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Assets, Johnson Chukwu, pointed out that the decision to review the tax should be taken by the new government.