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Reforms imperative to boost Nigeria’s tax revenue – Nami

The Executive Chairman of the Joint Tax Board (JTB), Mr. Muhammad Nami, said on Monday that for Nigeria to attain optimum tax revenue collection capacity at all levels of government, tax authorities in the country must make hard but necessary reforms that would yield long term benefits.

Nami, who is also the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) made this remark while delivering his address at the 153rd Meeting of the Board which held on Monday in Abuja with the theme “Harmonization and codification of taxes at the National and Sub-national levels: Key to achieving a tax friendly environment in Nigeria.”

The tax administrator pointed out that for progress to be made in taxation, 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.

He said: “As the new administration 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 added

The JTB Chairman noted 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.

Also, the Chairman of the Presidential Fiscal Policy & Tax Reforms Committee, Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, in his paper presentation on the theme of the meeting, lamented that multiple taxation was causing low tax morale in the country, as well as discouraging investments, while creating room for corruption and making doing business difficult.

According to him, the solution to the country’s revenue challenges is not to introduce more taxes but to focus on the few taxes that are high yielding as this approach will enable the tax authorities to collect far more than is currently being collected.

Oyedele also stressed that for the three tiers of government to raise more revenue, there was the need 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.

He expatiated: “We also need to clarify on taxing rights. We need to integrate tax collection functions—that is, all revenues that are to be collected must be collected by a single revenue agency. Government must also do well to fund our tax agencies well. We also need to harmonize revenue administration and simplify our approach to tax compliance.”

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