By NBF News

ABUJA - Minister of Finance, Olusegun Aganga, yesterday said the Federal Government had approved the introduction of National Tax Policy, NTP.

Speaking at a meeting of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, in Abuja, Aganga said: 'The NTP will provide a firm basis for tax legislation and to improve the efficiency of tax administration by laying down guidelines and regulations. It should also, thereby, enhance the climate for doing business in the country. He said the Ministry of Finance would continue to act, in conjunction with FIRS, to initiate and develop tax policy.

'NTP should eradicate the problem of multiple taxation across federal, state and local governments. The policy would also put in place specific tax compliance requirements that would need to be adhered to by all companies before the approval of any contracts allocated by the government.'

Speaking on the occasion, Executive Chairman of FIRS, Mrs Ifueko Omoigui Okauru, said the main principle behind the NTP was that 'it would provide the framework for the operation of the tax system.'

It would recognise the roles, responsibilities and obligations of all stakeholders in the tax system.'

At the same time, she announced that FIRS collected total tax revenue of NGN2.83 trillion (USD18.2bn) last year, around 13% more than its budgeted revenue of NGN2.5 trillion for the year and almost 30% above the total collected of nearly NGN2.2 trillion in 2009.

While regretting the fact that a number of tax reforms, including the Petroleum Industry Bill, had not passed through parliament last year, she looked at the project to develop an integrated tax administration system with a national database, in collaboration with state and local governments, as a positive sign. The inauguration of tax tribunals during 2010 had also constituted a formal administrative appeal process for aggrieved taxpayers for the first time.

Furthermore, Okauru hoped that there would be further increases in revenue in 2011 from, for example, improvements in voluntary compliance, the implementation of self_assessment and the automation of tax filing.