President of Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Mr Adesina Adedayo, on Thursday, warned Federal Government to resist the temptation of introducing more taxes, particularly earmarked taxes as its effects would bring more harm than good.
Mr Adedayo who gave the charge at the 2021 Tax Week with the theme: ‘Efficient Tax Administration as a Panacea for Increased Revenue Generation’, organized by Chartered Institute Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Abuja & District Society, however, underscored the need to revisit and properly apply incentives regime, in order to avoid revenue loss to the government.
While noting that the theme of the event is apt, Adedayo who was represented by CITN Vice President, Mr Samuel Olusola, expressed optimism that the proposed Finance Bill to be submitted by Federal Government to the National Assembly, “will address the salient issues in some of our tax laws that impede the viability of businesses and impact on the revenue generation capacity of government at national and subnational levels.”
According to him, a review of the details of the budget shows a deficit of N6.4 trillion which is a pointer to the fact that there is a still a lot to be achieved in the area of revenue generation. Therefore, if this is situated in relation to the thematic focus of this programme, we can only say it is quite timely.
“At every opportunity when professionals discuss topical issues, there are always takeaways that could be of immense benefit to governmental authorities. Therefore, I have no doubt that this seminar will produce the needed recommendations that can be leveraged upon by the government to increase revenue generation.
“More than ever before, it has become necessary to intensify the advocacy for tax compliance by all taxable entities and individuals. The number of individuals paying taxes is still not encouraging. At a recent forum, the Chairman of the Joint Tax Board pointed the fact that we currently have a little above 40 million registered taxpayers. It is left to be seen if all are active taxpayers.
“Therefore, sustained advocacy and enlightenment, building confidence through accountability by the government is recommended to bridge the gaps. As an institute, we are doing the bit we can at the national level and through our district societies across all the states of the federation.
“I recall when this event was organized last year, the theme under focus was tax, politics and social contract in Nigeria. Without taxes, there would be no formal and critical structures that would support governance in any civilised society.
“The disconnect between the government and the governed is attributable mainly to either party not living up to its duties and responsibilities in the social contract. This is the bane of the tax system in most developing countries particularly those still grappling with low tax compliance rate compared to the number of citizens and entities who ordinarily should be paying taxes.
“It is important to note that there has been a lot of improvements in addressing the challenges inherent in tax revenue generation in Nigeria. Such efforts must be sustained, with focus on building trust between the government and the governed, tax education and enlightenment programmes, widening the tax base and so on.
“Government should resist the temptation to introduce more taxes, particularly earmarked taxes as its effects would bring more harm than good. Furthermore, our incentives regime should be revisited and properly applied to avoid revenue loss to the government.
“With this background laid, I am delighted to be part of this seminar, given that it would offer a platform for us to provide solutions towards the improvement of the Nigerian Tax System,” he noted.
• Stamp duty, capital gains taxes not adequately collected ― FIRS chairman
In his address, Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Mohammad Nami, who observed that the annual tax week provides a good opportunity for public enlightenment on tax matters and for discussing pressing tax issues that would enhance professionalism and efficiency in tax administration in Nigeria, called for collaboration between the service and CITN.
“The issue of efficient tax administration as a panacea for increased revenue generation couldn’t have come at a better time than now that high exchange rate, insecurity, kidnapping and the lingering effect of the COVID-19 pandemic are resulting in high cost of projects for the government. The same factors at the same time are hindering revenue generation and have all led to the increased and urgent need for efficient revenue generation by governments at all levels.
“The Federal Government needs money to provide more critical infrastructure, maintain existing ones and provide medical and educational facilities to the teaming youth and by extension reduce unemployment.
“I believe that this occasion will generate new ideas, innovations and strategies for enhancing revenue collection by the Federal and State governments through their various Revenue Authorities.
“Looking at the topics for the paper presentation, discussions will centre on Stamp Duty and Capital Gains Tax. These taxes are currently not being adequately collected and it is my sincere hope that discussions here will generate the much-needed drive for the efficient administration of these taxes and ultimately increase revenue generation by both the State and Federal Governments.”
While reiterating the Service’s resolve towards generating more tax revenue that the government sorely needs and to enhance professionalism in tax practice, he expressed optimism that recommendations from the event will, directly and indirectly, enhance the revenue generation capabilities of the Revenue Authorities in Nigeria.
The Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Idris Ahmed, who was represented by Director, Consolidated Account, Mr Salawu Subair, reiterated the oAGF’s resolve towards raising the required revenue to finance the government’s projects.
“What the honourable Minister has been emphasizing is that we need more revenue, that the challenge we have is not that our budget is big, and in fact, if you listen to the interactive session that was held after the budget presentation, the DG Budget also said that what is actually required and considering the challenge we have in this country in terms of deficit infrastructure we actually need to spend more but we are constraint by revenue and that’s why the honourable Minister also mentioned that the challenge we have in the country is a revenue challenge.”
To this end, he urged the CITN to look at how government can ensure sufficiency in terms of revenue collection from the segment of Stamp Duty and Capital Gain Taxes just as he reiterated commitment towards the implementation of public financial management reform which are meant to deepen transparency, accountability and efficiency in the use of public resources for the common good.
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Resist temptation of introducing more taxes | Resist temptation of introducing more taxes
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