How to boost listed firms’ businesses, spur voluntary tax compliance
Capital market investors have underscored the need for government to pay more attention to infrastructure development to enhance businesses of listed firms in Nigeria, and ensure voluntary tax compliance. The experts, who argued that listed firms are facing untold hardship due to harsh operating environment, noted that if the government fails to improve infrastructure and revive the manufacturing sector, companies would continue to record losses, and may not fulfill their tax obligation.
They noted that the integrated developmental master plans needed for sustainable infrastructure development in Nigeria is yet to be executed. Therefore, they urged the government to review its strategies and improve opportunities for quoted companies and entrepreneurs through the provision of adequate infrastructure facilities to boost their business operations and spur their willingness to pay tax.
Specifically, the President of Constance Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Shehu Makail, said mitigating challenges confronting listed firms, especially in the areas of infrastructure and access to foreign exchange should be addressed.
According to him, the government needs to do more to stabilise the economy through developing infrastructure projects like electricity, road network, water, and railway among others. He added that when businesses become stable and viable, companies can make profit and fulfill their tax obligation.
The President of Ibadanzone Shareholders Association, Eric Akinduro, said the government must be alive to its responsibility through creating an enabling environment for listed firms to grow.“Business owners in Nigeria are working under unconducive environment where they need to provide light, water, security and even good roads on their own to do business.
“All these are government’s responsibilities. If the government should work on this, businesses will boom in Nigeria, which will translate to improved standard of living, and people will fulfil their tax obligations with ease. It would also reduce the rate of unemployment.
“Tax payment is an obligation of every citizen, but in a situation where citizens do not derive benefits or see the impact of taxes in the economy, it would affect the willingness to comply. “Government should play its role, while individuals and companies would perform their own responsibility. Government officials should stop living in flamboyance and wasting national resources to the detriment of taxpayers.”
The Vice-Chairman of Highcap Securities, Inafidon Adonri, said development of heavy industrial base will provide the engineering infrastructure required to sustain the productive momentum of the country’s light industries.He pointed out that government also needs to provide world class basic infrastructure like good road network, rail and ports, in addition to good technical education, good healthcare.
According to him, if people are gainfully employed and able to meet their maintenance needs, they will be encouraged to pay tax.“The manufacturing industry has greater capacity to create wealth and generate productive employment. It is the best means of lifting people out of poverty.
“Government can formulate several enabling policies to make production business thrive in Nigeria.“This will involve full privatisation of the economy, protection of domestic production industry, encouragement of the private sector to develop the engineering infrastructure made up of the metallurgical industry, electric power industry and the energy industry.”
The Chairman, Association of Securities Dealing Houses of Nigeria (ASHON), Patrick Ezeagu, said citizens will become easily persuaded and willing to pay tax once they see the positive utilisation of tax revenue to provide for their collective wellbeing.
Furthermore, he argued that the government’s commitment is to use the money paid by taxpayers to provide for the social and economic wellbeing of the citizen.
“Apparent, not pretentious effort to plug leakages and financial recklessness in governance will also engender willingness on the part of the citizen to pay tax.“The use of technology to ease the process of tax payment will also serve as further incentive as well as incentivising prompt payment by responsible individuals/corporates.”