TETFund decries FIRS low remittance of education tax

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The Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Fund (TETFund), Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, has decried the poor remittance of N189 billion to its coffers by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) as education tax collected for the year 2021.

Bogoro stated this in Jos on Tuesday during a joint interactive forum between TETFund and FIRS officials to enhance education tax collection and the agencies’ relationship.

Represented by the agency’s Director of Strategic Planning, Mr. Erivwo Inene, the TETFund boss noted that the agency “wants to presume from reports and available data that the FIRS met and surpassed its target for the Year 2021 tax revenue,” expressing concerns why the EDT collection “for the same was far below the target set for the year.”

He warned that the current amount below previous remittances would endanger the provision of critical infrastructure in the nation’s tertiary institutions if allowed to continue.

“In 2021, the Fund received an Education tax collection of N189 billion, which was considerably lower than the previous year collection. The Fund is equally aware that economic activities seriously slowed down, and in some cases, halted from March when the lockdown was imposed and movement restricted,” Bogoro explained.

He added that it affected the performance of industries and companies, “which affected education tax collection for the year.”

He described the situation as a wake-up call to improve and deploy new ways to ensure the efficient and timely collection of EDT in 2022.

He noted that despite the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the education sector, TETFund made modest achievements providing essential infrastructure, including equipment and instructional materials, training and development programme, research and funding of other critical activities directed by the Federal Government.

“It might interest you to know that while the Fund has made a significant impact on infrastructural development, it has also made remarkable improvement in the content-based component of its interventions,” added Bogoro. “The repeated increase in the National Research Fund intervention from N5 billion, to N7.5 billion in 2020 to N8.5 billion in 2021 is a case in point. The funding and establishment of 12 centres of excellence in selected beneficiary institutions each in 2020 and 2021 is another notable achievement.”

He explained that last year, the agency started Capacity Building Programme for institutions with the objective of improving the global competitiveness and visibility of our universities, Entrepreneurship and Skills Development for Polytechnics, and Pedagogy Skills and Curriculum Development for Colleges of Education.

Commenting on the outgone year, the Executive Chairman of FIRS, Muhammad Nami, explained that 2021 was challenging.

He, however, admitted that FIRS was able to hit 100 per cent of its target of N9.5 trillion despite the pandemic.

Nami, represented by the FIRS’ Coordinating Director (Compliance Support Group), Dr. Dick Irri, said the tax agency was doing its best to improve tax collection in the country, including deploying in-house tax administration software.

He stressed the need for TETFund and FIRS to collaborate more to achieve their various mandates. According to him, the synergy between the agencies is vital to the transformation evident in public tertiary institutions across Nigeria.

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