Govt tasked on budget transparency, spending of tax revenues
Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group (NDEBUMOG) has urged the government to stop the use of consultants to collect taxes, to block leakages and boost revenue accruable to states and local governments for effective service delivery.
The group also urged the government to make taxes payable known to every citizen, adding that payment should be eased through virtual means, and citizens are encouraged to pay through payment cards or at online payment platforms.
Speaking with The Guardian, the CEO of NDEBUMOG, Dr. George-Hill Anthony, noted that different groups parading markets and harassing traders should be banned and equitable approaches be adopted in taxation. “High net-worth individuals should pay commensurate taxes.”
He said a point of sales payment system should be introduced in markets, where traders would easily pay taxes, tolls, and levies, without molestation.
Anthony advised that the Treasury Single Account (TSA) should be set up for tax collection at the local government level to block leakages while establishing a redress mechanism to handle issues of abuse and wrong acts of state agents involved in tax collections at the markets.
“Tax policies should be shaped in a way that encourages and supports the growth of the informal sector of the economy. Multiple taxes affect micro and small enterprises negatively. Efforts should be made to eradicate it. Principles of fair tax should be employed in taxation from the bottom of the pyramid to the vulnerable poor. Every business cannot be taxed the same.
“There is a need to carry out impact assessments, with a focus on women and poor people to ensure those groups are not disproportionately affected in taxation. Ensure that any reform in informal sector taxation aims to improve compliance. There are several dimensions to this, all of which need attention, capacity, and investment. Budget transparency and actual spending of tax revenues on community development, should be made public.
“Those paying taxes should always demand and save receipts, which can be useful in holding local officials accountable for uses of revenues paid. Ensure that there are sufficient skilled revenue authority officials with the capacity to implement tax administration unbiased, alongside with respect for human rights. These, among others, shall promote tax and justice.
“With the evolution of information and communications technology (ICT), governments around the world are integrating ICT into the operational mechanism of government, either, through whole e-governance or with segmented technological tools, such as IPSAS, that budgets are linked for effective monitoring and evaluation.
“As budgets are tailored to IPSAS charts of accounts, revenue collections, through e-tax, should also be linked, alongside audits. All these combined shall promote fiscal discipline and reduction of corruption. The Federal Government and several states in Nigeria have developed revenue collection portals.
However, much is still needed at consolidating this technological bridge with ICT, even as mobilisation of informal businesses into this technological reality may take ages, especially in Africa.”