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20% tax-to-GDP ratio achievable, says CITN


Dr. Olateju Somorin

Dr. Olateju Somorin

The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) has said that the push for a 20 per cent tax-to-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by government is laudable and achievable, given the country’s inherent opportunities.

However, it also realizes that the goal portends a dire demand for a legion of tax administrators and professionals to navigate the extant laws on behalf of the payers to ensure equity and fairness.

The institute’s President, Dr. Olateju Somorin, who made the observation in her opening speech at the 34th induction ceremony, said CITN has always braced up to its responsibility in recognition of the need to provide a strong manpower base for the tax system.

Nigeria’s tax-to-GDP ratio, currently estimated at seven per cent, has remained difficult for government to mobilise N4.8 trillion yearly out of the N5.6 trillion projected value in relation to 2013 GDP figure of N81 trillion.

Nigeria’s feat in achieving 20 per cent revenue from tax in relation to the GDP, would see its revenue record rise above N16 trillion yearly, which experts have said it is possible by improving processes and increasing the number of taxpayers.

“This onerous task falls on professionals who must continually update and display the requisite skill set to offer top notch services to their clients and the general public.

“it is no longer news that marked decreases in oil prices have sent ripple effects on the economy- pressure on external reserves and impact on foreign exchange market, with government resorting to borrow N1.8 trillion to fund part of the 2016 budget.

“The place of taxation in national development has once again brought to the front burner. At the federal and state governments’ levels, there have already been increased activities and strategies geared towards raising the internally generated revenue,” she said.

She lamented that while some states have heeded the institute’s call for autonomy for revenue administration in their respective states, others have resorted to self-help by making summary pronouncements on tax payments, which have not brought success.

Somorin however, reiterated the call for only tax professionals to head and administer agencies charged with revenue generation, especially at federal and state levels, urging the new inductees to remain good ambassadors of the institute.

Meanwhile a professor of accounting and President, African Accounting and Finance Association, Jane Modupe Ande, has noted that while most companies evade taxes, it is only tax practitioners that have abetted them.

Ande, while charging the newly inducted professionals to make the difference, said it is obvious that Nigeria can no longer rely on one source of revenue to develop itself, but must tap from the huge potentials in tax that has been exploited by those who do not wish the country well.

She pointed out that the consequences of low revenues and lack of will to develop our educational system are the shame heaped on the Nigerian universities and their poor ranking among others across the world.

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