MSMEs Make Informal Payments To Fast-Track FIRS Processes – Report

Most Nigerian Micro Small and Medium Enterprises make payments without receipts to intermediaries to appreciate them or for speedy regulatory processes in Federal Inland Revenue Service.

This was one of the discoveries in a study carried out by Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Convention on Business Integrity and Centre for International Private Enterprise, which was unveiled during a virtual forum on Tuesday.

The study also stated MSMEs interface with intermediaries, who are mostly FIRS workers, to facilitate tax remittance.

The report was entitled ‘Transactional accountability, process consistency, and operation, and transparency at FIRS’.

While presenting the findings of the survey, which gathered information from 501 business owners in Aba, Lagos, and Kano states, the Chief Executive Officer, CBI, Olusoji Apampa, said that FIRS was picked due to the significance of the agency’s role in MSMEs’ operations.

Apampa said the focus of the study was on MSMEs because research done by PwC indicated that 96 percent of businesses in Nigeria fell into that category.

He pointed out that about 66.6 percent of the business owners said they made informal or unreceipted payments in the course of filing their taxes.

According to the findings, most of the informal payments were made to say ‘thank you’ while others said the need to fast track the processes prompted them to make extra payments.

He said, “Where sanctions could not be done swiftly, government regulation needs to be checked through collective action in addition to what the regulatory agencies are doing.”

Apampa called for the collective action of civil society organisations, business groups and regulatory agencies to ensure regulation works in the interest of the public.