Experts express support for tax increases
Tax practitioners, yesterday, urged the Federal Government to conserve revenue from oil and gas, and focus on tax to increase funding for government expenditure.
The experts, who gathered in Abuja, at a Seminar on, “Current issues in Nigeria Taxation: VAT Act, Stamp duty, TIN and PTF,” noted that the current plan by the government to increase value-added tax to 7.5 per cent next year was on the right track.
President, Chartered Institute of Taxation, Nigeria (CITN), Olajumoke Simplice, insisted that without an increase in taxes, the country’s development may remain elusive.
She said: “the days of oil revenue are completely over; we should be working on the issues of taxation, while government conserves oil earnings in the sovereign wealth account for the development of the country.”
Simplice, who equally lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for pegging the 2020 budget on tax as against oil revenue, noted that “the value-added tax at five per cent cannot work.”
She also commended the President for the items exempted from being taxed, stressing that items under the health sector, agriculture, and others have a direct relationship with the living condition of poor Nigerians.
She said: “When it was promulgated in 1993, it was said that it will be reviewed over time; 25 years past, nothing has been done. In 2007, 2009, and 2019, attempts were made and there was a lot of noise around it. I think Nigerians just need to understand that we cannot progress without taxation.”
Stressing that the current VAT is a consumption tax, Simplice said: “If you sit down in your house and eat, you will not pay VAT. If you give your wife money to go to the market, you will not pay VAT, but if you carry your wife to Sheraton to eat and sleep, you will pay.
“That is what we are saying, those things that are liable to VAT do not affect the masses and they need to understand that.
The Executive Secretary, Joint Tax Board (JTB), Prof. Abiola Sani, said there was a need to increase awareness on VAT to properly educate Nigerians on the issue.
Sani said: “We need to get people to pay tax; the consumables that will affect the ordinary Nigerians have been removed from VAT. Stakeholders need to keep educating Nigerians to understand all issues concerning taxation in the country for economic growth and development.”
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