Experts chart path to effective tax administration in Nigeria
CITN tasks inductees on professionalism
The President, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Cyril Nwobodo Ede, has called for a robust framework for tax assessment in Nigeria, especially for the informal sector and high networth individuals to boost the nation’s revenue base.
Ede, who spoke at the 37th induction ceremony of the institute in Lagos, at the weekend, regretted that the sector, which accounts for more than 60 per cent of the economic activities, does not have a workable taxpayer database.
He argued that for Nigeria to boost its revenue base, and fast-track growth, relevant tax authorities must create efficient taxpayer database that can be properly integrated to form a robust database in Nigeria.
“Why we need more tax professionals at this point, the reason is not far-fetched, there is no better time than now for Nigeria, as a country to put in place enduring structures for effective resource mobilisation to fund our development. Facts and figures are on the public domain on the serious challenges government at all levels are facing with mobilising revenue to finance and develop the country.”
Furthermore, Ede expressed worry concern on the inordinate drive by all tiers of government to grow internally generated revenue. This, he said, has led to increased cost of tax administration without commensurate increase in revenue.
He suggested that all tax agencies should operate within the ambit of the law in their revenue collection functions, while urging tax authorities to collaborate through joint operating agreements, as a means of pooling resources together for greater efficiency and reduction in collection cost.
“As a matter of urgency, there should be a simplification of the tax/ revenue laws and a re-write in plain language. This will not only remove ambiguity from the laws, but will make them easy to apply.”
This will bring about reduction in the number of contentious issues and cost of compliance, thus making tax system more efficient.”
He urged the inductees and old members of the CITN to adhere strictly to ethics of the profession, adding that the institute would continue to explore means of ensuring that it remained responsive in obligations to all stakeholders.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor, Management Services, Babcock University, Prof. Sunday Owolabi, described taxation as the bedrock of any economy.
According to him, one of the ways government can increase revenue base through taxation, is to encourage voluntary declaration by providing necessary social amenities, and making cost of living more affordable for the people.
Owolabi, who is also a Senior Lecturer, and Director, ICAN Training School of the University, said: “Multiple taxation is a challenge in the country, and we need to address it urgently. You find out that federal government will levy a particular type of tax, state government will levy; and local government will also do same. It is something that we in the academic sector are working on with the institute to make a presentation to the National Assembly on how to address the issue.
“What we need to do now is not necessarily to increase tax, but to make the coverage wide, less than half of Nigerians are paying the tax they are supposed to pay under a normal condition. So tax base must be increased, the coverage must be wide enough, and with that we can generate more than the revenue required to run the government.
“First area of improving tax compliance is to be efficient in the operations of the government so that people and the citizen can see what they are spending the money on and with that they will be happy. Security must be there, the road network sound, power must be there, and with that nobody will complain before paying tax so the citizens, the population must see what they are spending the money on.”
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