In order to achieve its mandate of implementing relevant policies, developing and regulating Information Technology for sustainable development, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in collaboration with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has held a stakeholders’ engagement forum to interact on ways of improving payment timelines and report back to them how taxpayers’ monies have been expended.
The engagement forum was to allow stakeholders to evaluate what has been achieved so far with the taxpayers’ monies and also to appeal for prompt payment of relevant levies in order for the agency to fast track the realisation of critical development in the digital economy sector.
The event afforded participants drawn from both beneficiaries of the levy and the taxpayers, including Telecommunications Companies (Telcos), Pension Managers and Pension related companies, Cyber Companies, Insurance Companies Banks/other Financial Institutions the opportunity to share ideas and reexamine the concept/prospects of taxation.
In his presentation, Kashifu Inuwa, the Director-General of NITDA, enumerated the Agency’s achievements from inception to date, and explained the Nigerian IT ecosystem in general as he highlighted the challenges and potentials therein.
Inuwa noted that the Agency’s National Digital Skills Strategy Implementation is geared towards achieving 95% digitally literate Nigerians by 2030, as he mentioned opportunities that include training of one million developers to potentially generate $20 billion annually.
The DG further stated that the initiative will increase foreign inflow to Nigeria, while closing the global projected 85 million talent deficit and US$8.5 trillion in unrealised revenues by 2030.
Speaking on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Policy Strategy Implementation, Inuwa stressed that the Roadmap for the adoption of AI will tap into the $13 trillion global market by 2030.
“We have some flagship initiatives and projects which we believe can help us capture value; one of such is building and hatching talents because according to research, by 2030, there is going to be 85million talent deficit globally, making talent a huge industry itself”.
“So, we are working towards making Nigeria position itself as the world’s talent factory, exporting our brains, providing talented workforce for you to render services for your establishments, Nigeria, the continent and the world at large,” the DG expounded.
Inuwa reiterated the need for continuous collaborations for higher productivity, according to him “no one can whistle a symphony, it takes a whole orchestra to play it. We believe in teamwork and we know there are things we can do as a government that you cannot do as a private sector and vice versa, but together nothing is impossible. That’s why we are here to forge a common front of working together, co-create the ecosystem and prosperity for all.”
The NITDA Boss also elucidated key focus of the Agency particularly the implementation of Nigeria Start-up Act, completion of the National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre, National Data Strategy Implementation, Adoption of Blockchain Technology, Implementation of the National Digital Skills Strategy amongst others.
“As we look to the future, NITDA is committed to sustaining the momentum, leveraging emerging technologies, developing policies and strategies that promote digital transformation, and creating an enabling environment for startups and entrepreneurs to thrive.
“We believe that with you all, we can build a more prosperous Nigeria, a country that is at the forefront of Africa’s digital economy, and a nation that can compete globally”, Inuwa assured.
The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami in his keynote address commended NITDA for the introduction of technology in the tax collection and payment processes which he noted has positively impacted on taxpayers and government’s ability to deliver social goods, critical infrastructure and other necessary services.
Mr. Nami who was represented by Kabiru Abba, the Service’s Lead, General Tax Operations Group, revealed that FIRS collected and remitted the sum of N22,574,099,600.06 in 2022, and the total sum collected by FIRS on behalf of the Agency from 2008 to December 2022 is N168,847,118,268.22.
He said it is important to showcase the achievements of NITDA, particularly as taxpayers can easily make a connection between the taxes paid and its socio-economic impact which will also assist to improve voluntary compliance.
“FIRS, for instance is continuously implementing initiatives which are principally driven by the use of Information Technology and many of such initiatives have been successfully implemented including the recently introduced Electronic Tax Clearance Certificate (ETCC),” he added.
Nami further noted that NITDA collection has also shown a significant improvement as the highest collection recorded thus far was in 2022 at N22,574,099,600.06, affirming that FIRS is a key partner of NITDA, and the Service assists in the assessment, collection and accounting for the Agency’s revenue, as stated in section 16 of the NITDA Act (2007).
He also assured NITDA of continuous support to achieve its mandate, emphasising that the support is important as IT plays a vital role in the operations of the service in ensuring increased revenue for the nation.
Awards for outstanding performance to NITDEF were also presented to the Executive Chairman of FIRS, Muhammad Nami and others while certificates were also presented to stakeholders.