The Chattered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) has attributed the poor compliance of taxable Nigerians to the inability of government to make good use of taxes paid by Nigerians in the provision of basic amenities.
The body called on the Federal Government to ensure that taxes paid are used in the provision of amenities and improvement of the wellbeing of
This is as Tunde Fowler, executive chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), said that the Federal Government was doing everything to encourage Nigerians pay taxes as part of their obligation to the country.
Fowler, who was represented by Gbolaga Oshiga, the state coordinator for Enugu and Ebonyi, stated that government would ensure that the burden of payment was not high on the people, stressing that the workshop was to improve enlightenment on government’s efforts, among other.
Speaking at a training workshop for professionals, on participation in the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme
(VAIDS), organised by the federal Ministry of Finance in Enugu, Cyril Ikemefuna Ede, CITN president, said Nigerians were playing taxes before the oil boom, and that it were well utilised but that citizens lost interest in tax payments because money realised from it were no longer used for the provision of basic amenities by politicians.
It was gathered that with tax compliance of six percent, Nigeria remains the lowest in payment of taxes the world over, stressing that the development prompted the establishment of the VAIDS to sensitise Nigerians and enable them regularise their tax status. The scheme, which runs for nine months from July 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, will
benefit tax payers who use the period to declare previously undisclosed assets and income as they are not charged interest and penalties and would be free from criminal prosecution for tax offices and audit.
“About six percent is paying tax at the moment. People are not seeing the effect of paying tax and because of that they became reluctant to pay. Again the general environment in Nigeria, when you see politicians having the whole money and these are money coming to government from taxes we pay, so some people are not being encouraged to pay. I am sure that if government turns out to do things that are good, people will start paying taxes.
“Government must make sure that the ones they pay are utilised and people have the effect of the taxes. “They pay 51 percent in Finland and people are happy to pay because they have everything they want. So, here if you pay it and government did not do anything, then they will not continue to pay,” he said.
He recalled how Nigerians were paying taxes effectively during the colonial era, “because they were seeing the effect of the payment. Each councilor was responsible to ensure that taxes were
collected and people paid freely; but when the oil money came, the whole thing slowed down and even the government was not even interested in paying tax and everybody went his way”.
Ede stated that the workshop was designed to enlighten Nigerians on the need to pay tax, stressing that lack of awareness was part of the challenge faced by the tax system in the country.
“We need continuous enlightenment, telling people the benefits because tax is an obligation. Tax payment is for government and so everybody is obliged to make contribution. It is good that everybody makes contribution according to his ability,” he said.
Regis Anukwuoji, Enugu