‘Nigeria Entertainment Industry Generates $16bn in Gross Domestic Product’
By Barth Ndego
Mr. Babatunde Fowler, the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), who was recently elected President of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) in Pretoria, South Africa revealed that the recent re-basing of Nigeria’s economy showed that the entertainment industry contributes over $6 billion to the newly rebased Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.
Fowler made the revelation during Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Delta State Board of Internal Revenue (DBIR) in collaborating with entertainment industry stakeholders engagement session tagged, “Day of Glamour and Civic Responsibility” held in Asaba, Delta State capital.
The session was organized to seek practical ways of strengthening government and entertainment industry relationship with a view at using entertainment to create greater awareness on the needs for citizens to pay their taxes.
Fowler who was represented at the occasion by Mr. Kola Okwola said according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the entertainment and creative arts industry grew by 8.4 percent in the first quarter of the year, stressing that the government is excited and interested in supporting the industry to contribute more because this means more revenue to federal and state governments.
While government appreciates the fact that corporate and individual citizens must fulfill their civic responsibilities, the FIRS boss pointed out those upcoming sectors of the economy must be nurtured and encouraged to grow so as to perform competitively on a global scale which is the only way to attract revenue in both local and foreign currencies.
“Without any doubt, the creative industry has opened new frontiers and economic opportunities in terms of wealth creation, knowledge economy, employment generation, local capacity utilization and revenue generation with huge potential to leapfrog into emerging high-growth economy,” he noted.
Speaking in the occasion, the Executive Chairman of Delta State Board of Internal Revenue, Sir Monday John Onyeme called on Nigerians to pay their taxes especially now that oil which is the main revenue source for nigeria is fast depleting, warning that if care was not take the nation may plunge into a ‘Banana Republic’.
“Those days in the sixties our fathers used to pay their taxes, farmers, traders, artisans and workers they all pay taxes in the sixties. What have gone wrong? That only workers in an organised companies and civil servants now pay taxes. Time has come for us to change the attitudes. This programme is technology driven with less paper work. And with this new development we will overcome the challenges that derailed us from paying our taxes,” he stated.
He said the choice of using the entertainment industry to spearhead this initiative was not out of place because they are role models, saying when there’s innovation it will sell fast using entertainment industry as a drive.
He urged the citizens to always appreciate the Government of Delta State led by Dr Ifeanyi Okowa for satisfying the collective needs of Deltans, saying, it’s difficult for any Government to satisfy the individual needs of each citizens.
While emphasing the type of taxes citizens should pay, he noted that it’s very necessary for entertainers to pay their Personal Income Tax, saying, from every events done by entertainers it’s expected of them to pay their taxes from it.
He maintained that the Government cannot buy instrument for all entertainers before they are expected to perform their Civic Responsibility, adding that payment of tax is not to punish Citizens, but it’s a civic obligations needed to be performed.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa represented by the Mr. Reginald Bayoko, the State Head of Service, commended the organisers for the initiative and called for effective tax system, saying effective tax system is a panacea for the dwindling economy currently facing the nation.