Taiwo Oyedele, Chairman, Presidential Fiscal Policy & Tax Reforms Committee, on Monday in Abuja lamented that multiple taxation by agencies of the three tiers of government across the country were causing low tax morale, thereby discouraging investments, creating room for corruption and making doing business difficult.
Oyedele said the solution to the country’s revenue challenges is not introduction of more taxes, but focusing on a few high yielding taxes that will help ax authorities collect far more than is currently being collected.
Speaking at the 153rd Meeting of the Joint Tax Board with the theme: “Harmonization and codification of taxes at the National and Sub-national levels: Key to achieving a tax friendly environment in Nigeria,” he stressed that for the government to raise more revenue, it needed to get to a point where the total number of taxes collected at the Federal, State and Local government levels would be at a single digit.
According to Oyedele, who was until recently the Fiscal policy partner and Africa tax leader at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), there is also need clarify taxing rights, just as the necessity “to integrate tax collection functions—that is, all revenues that are to be collected must be collected by a single revenue agency.”
Also important he added, according to a statement by Johannes Oluwatobi Wojuola, Special Assistant to the Executive Chairman, FIRS (Media & Communication), is for government to fund our tax agencies well, besides harmonising “revenue administration and simplify our approach to tax compliance.”
He further advocated for the country’s tax authorities to use more technology, a review of the country’s constitution and tax laws, as well a revisit of Nigeria’s concept of fiscal federalism.
In his address to the Board, the chairman, Muhammad Nami, who is also the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), said for the country to attain optimum tax revenue collection capacity across the Federal, States and Local Government authorities, it must make hard but necessary reforms that would yield long term benefits.
For progress to be made in taxation, according to him, tax authorities must continue to explore and adopt measures and innovative initiatives that will lead to the optimisation of tax revenue for all levels of government.
“As the new administrations attempt to address the many socioeconomic challenges facing the nation on many fronts, it becomes imperative for all the levers of State to shake-off any lethargic antecedents and focus on the goal of a national resurgence.
“The unique and privileged offices we occupy as drivers of the nation’s tax administration processes presents us with a rare opportunity to take hard, but necessary decisions that are expected to yield long term benefits and add immense value to our collective prosperity as a nation.
“In recent years, especially since the dawn of our current democratic dispensation, the importance of taxation has continued to be reiterated and reinforced by all, and the critical role that tax-revenue plays in funding government and governance cannot be over-emphasized.
“However, as we continue to make progress in our unique model of taxation, it is appropriate that we continue to explore and adopt measures and innovative initiatives that will lead to the optimization of tax revenue for all the levels of government, in more efficient, more effective, more inclusive, and more sustainable ways.
“It is only by achieving this, that our efforts as tax administrators can trigger the manner of activity required in the productive sectors of our economy, towards achieving the immense economic potentials that we are capable of,” Nami said.
He further assured Executive Chairmen of State Revenue Authorities present that given the thrust of the current administration’s tax policy direction, the country was on the pathway to eradicating multiplicity of taxes as a core of its overall economic regeneration objectives.