From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
Chairman of Board of Trustees, Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND, Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim Imam, has stated that the federal government agency has targeted to generate N500 billion from the Education Tax collection from companies in 2021.
Imam stated this in Port Harcourt at the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, 2020 TetFund/FIRS Interactive Forum with stakeholders in the South-South Zone, tagged ‘New Thrust in Sustaining the EDT Collection During Covid-19 Pandemic for Effective Service Delivery of the Mandate of the Fund’.
Imam commended companies for paying their EDT as at when due, calling on others who are not up to date to give attention to EDT, even as he stated that the tax is used for research and educational development on the nation.
He said: “I want to challenge companies that have not been paying to make efforts to pay. Education is vital to the development of any country. Tertiary education is responsible for scholarship, research and should be funded.
“We call on those who have not being paying to please give attention to it. We are challenging FIRS to improves despite Covid-19 and it is achievable.
He noted that TETFUND target was to reach 50 universities soon, noting the University of Port Harcourt, Lagos State University, have 68 ongoing projects, while University of Lagos has 75 projects.
“We are to go to 50 universities. We have gone round to see things for ourselves and we see and it is established that TETFUND of making impact. We have seen that the TETFUND is doing well.
“In UNILAG we have 75 projects ongoing. In LASU we have 68 on going projects. UNIPORT has 68 on going projects funded by TETFund. It means that the fund is utilised most effectively and importantly.
“We are seeing results. I can say that the taxes you have been paying as education tax is impacting on education across Nigeria. The relationship between TETFund, and FIRS is working. FIRS has done exceedingly well.”
He however, tasked the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, to improve its collection strategy to surpass the earlier target of N277 billion set for 2021.
Imam expressed optimism that the said target may be achieved despite challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
He revealed that the same target of N277 billion has been set for 2021, but charged the FIRS to ensure that the target was surpassed by more than 10% increase.
Imam said: “I challenge the FIRS to do more than they are doing. The figure for this year is 277 billion for 2020. For next year, 2021, the target is N277 billion. That is the target we set for FIRS.
“As at September, this year we have 235 billion collected already. That means by December we would have collected the 277 billion target.
“We should be looking at the region of N500 billion. We should not be looking at 10% increase on N277 billion, that is not good enough. We should target N500 billion. I will do everything to support you, and I will support and consult for free to ensure we achieve this.”
Meanwhile, the Executive Chairman, FIRS, Muhammad Nami, has promised that the Service would surpass the targets set by TETFUND for 2020 and 2021.
Nami, who was represented by Coordinating Director, FIRS, Ezra Zuberu, disclosed that in 2019, the Services collect 214 billion EDT from companies.
Nami stated that as at October 2020 it has collected N251 billion, adding that it would attain the set target despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.
He said: “We will do everything to ensure that the plans of TETFUND are achieved. We will ensure that all the funds are mobilised in executing projects in the tertiary institution”.