CITN harps on harmonisation of taxes for growth
To explore revenue reforms for fiscal stability at forum
The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) has reiterated the need to harmonise taxes as a way of ensuring the principles of taxation, encourage taxpayers and support the growth of small businesses for the overall good of the economy.
Besides, since 1990, the regime of multiple levies and taxes collectible by all tiers of government, particularly the states and councils, which led to the enactment of Decree 21 of 1998 and later reviewed in 2004, have long been due for a sustainable change.
The President of CITN, Dr. Olateju Somorin, who made the observations during a media briefing on the forthcoming yearly tax conference of the institute, decried the situation, which instead of declining in numbers, levies and taxes have been on the increase, though as the economy evolves, but made worse in a situation where two or more levels of governments tax one entity on the same issue.
She said the need for the harmonization comes as the multiplicity of taxes will lead payers to devise ways of “cutting corners”, while leaving those who voluntarily pay in perpetual difficulty, both in standard of living and ease of doing business.
“The problems have majorly been with states and local governments, like a situation where states charge for Business Premises licence and the local governments come for the same fee again. This is double tax and it has not encouraged growth of business and the payer,” she said.
According to her, the institute feels statutorily obliged to initiate programmes and discussions that will help to critically address these issues that are bedeviling the economy on yearly basis.
She said that this year’s conference with the theme “Fiscal Challenges and Opportunities of the Nigerian Economy,” was necessitated by concern over the country’s economic crisis that stemmed on falling crude oil prices, which still remain largely uncertain.
“We are convinced that the technical and professional competences of presenters and the topicality of the subjects slated for discussion would significantly give value and impetus to the practice and administration of taxation,” she said, adding that it would also explore revenue reforms that would provide fiscal space for growth and stability.
She noted that CITN is aligned with the position of President Muhammadu Buhari, in attempting to enforce greater fiscal discipline, probity and accountability in all revenue generating agencies.
“We are optimistic that the government would take deliberate steps to enforce regulations that would stop financial leakages, to generate more revenue to mitigate the effects of the dwindling crude oil prices on the economy.
“With our huge membership potentials, we have the technical competence and wherewithal to partner the federal and state governments in their drive to achieve set goals of maximum revenue collection,” she added.