So, the tax amnesty by the federal government appears to have worked.

Through the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme, VAIDS, the government raked in around 30 billion naira from individuals and companies who hitherto haven’t been paying tax.

The VAIDS was designed to give tax evaders immunity from prosecution, penalty charges and interest if they voluntarily declare their previously undisclosed assets and income.

The finance ministry said the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS chairman Babatunde Fowler announced details of money recovered while speaking at an event in capital Abuja on Wednesday.

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“Mr Fowler said the federal government had recovered about 30 billion naira from individuals and corporate establishments through the tax amnesty scheme,” it said in a statement.

It said the database of registered taxpayers has increased from 14 million in 2016 to more than 19 million this year.

Fowler “expressed optimism that the number would translate into a positive growth in the country’s tax revenue-to-GDP ratio”.

Economists have long criticised the low levels of tax collection in Africa’s most populous country. The tax-to-GDP ratio stands at 6%.

The government last year laid out plans to increase it to 15% by 2020. Earlier this month an increase in excise duties on tobacco and alcohol came into effect.

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