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Create environment for prosperity, experts advise govt

By Joseph Chibueze, Abuja
20 May 2022   |   3:28 am
Speakers at the ongoing yearly tax conference, organised by the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) in Abuja, have called on the Federal Government to create the right environment for the citizenry to prosper.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/YEMI OSINBAJO/SCREENGRAB

Speakers at the ongoing yearly tax conference, organised by the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) in Abuja, have called on the Federal Government to create the right environment for the citizenry to prosper.

The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, had, while declaring the event open on Wednesday, called on Nigerians to always pay their taxes for government to generate enough revenue to meet its responsibilities.

But Chairman, Board of Trustees, Financial Markets Dealers Association, Agbaje Aig-Imoukhuede, in his lead paper on the theme of the conference, “Global Disruption, Taxation and Digitalisation: Implications for Socio-economic Development, yesterday, submitted that without the right environment for people to do their businesses and prosper, it would be difficult for them to pay their taxes.

He said: “Despite our low tax to GDP ratio, which stands at just nine per cent, far from the minimum of 15 per cent recommended by the World Bank, the tax compliance rate of successful Nigerian companies is extremely very high, especially those listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. So, Nigerian companies that have succeeded and are making money are actually paying their taxes.

“I see no big challenge in taxing successful Nigerians if we can create them, so, let’s go create them, they will pay their taxes.”

Aig-Imoukhuede, who is also founder of Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation, said government of any nation is as rich as its citizens.

“The government has a responsibility to create the enabling environment for the citizens to prosper,” he reiterated.
Also speaking, Partner and Africa Tax Lead, PwC, Taiwo Oyedele, noted that Nigeria “is actually punishing poor people with taxes and taxing poverty.” He suggested that anyone earning less than N70,000 monthly should be exempted from taxation.

The expert also observed that contrary to popular claim that Nigerians “are not paying taxes, they are paying, but it does not get to government.”

In his remarks, a Professor of Capital Market at Nasarawa State University, Uche Uwaleke, contended that informal taxes in Nigeria was over 200.

According to him, “the taxes are not paid to government coffers. That is why we need to have greater clarity about our tax laws.”

To immediate past president of CITN, Dame Gladys Simplice, it is time for Nigerians to query the taxes they have paid and the effect on the society.