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Fayemi, FIRS task govt on better deployment of tax revenue

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja
30 September 2021   |   4:11 am
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), yesterday, canvassed effective implementation of tax revenue by government at all levels, submitting that payers must be made to feel more impact of their money.

Fayemi. Photo: TWITTER/EKITISTATEGOV

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), yesterday, canvassed effective implementation of tax revenue by government at all levels, submitting that payers must be made to feel more impact of their money.

In a remark at the “Seventh IGR Learning Event” organised by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) in Abuja, Executive Chairman of the FIRS, Mohammad Nami, observed: “Taxation remains the most veritable tool in addressing the imbalance between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ of the society.”

He continued: “Beyond the use of taxation for balancing social-economic standing of citizens, it is a contribution that members of the society make in order for their leaders to provide them with social amenities in appropriate quantity and quality. In short, it is the price paid in anticipation of decent living conditions.”

According to Nami, “tax-compliant citizens can legitimately expect their leaders to provide necessary amenities for a ‘good life’ as confirmed in Section 16 (b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

Nami said the section provides that, “the state shall within the context of the ideals and objectives for which provisions are made in this Constitution, control the national economy in such a manner as to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality of status and opportunity.”

Lamenting the poor implementation of tax revenue by government, the FIRS boss noted: “Governments at various tiers must, in view of the constitutional provisions, imbibe the culture of ‘value-for-money’ or, put in proper perspective, ‘value-for tax-money.’

“The citizens should not just hear budget figures but must, within their immediate living quarters, feel, see and experience effects of tax revenue.”

In his contribution, NGF Chairman and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, linked the decline in tax revenue to evasion and poor attitude to taxation.

His words: “The marginal growth in the IGR of states recorded year-on-year from 2016 peaked in 2019 and recorded a decline of N43.15 billion (3.4 per cent) for 2020.”

He advised that, “advancing beyond our current revenue levels will warrant more systemic reforms to address low tax morale and voluntary compliance by taxpayers.”

Fayemi went on: “The growing wave in tax avoidance and evasion, especially among the informal sector, is not unconnected with their belief that such cognitive dissonance is right. Such justification is often predicated on the principle of reciprocity and economic exchange for which they fault government’s commitment.”