President, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Dame Gladys Olajumoke on Wednesday said the only alternative to the survival of the Nigerian economy is taxation.
To her, people are grumbling and angry to pay taxes because they have not been able to see what the ones they have paid are used for quickly added that, provision of enabling environment will compel Nigerians to pay taxes for the survival of the country in addition to dwindling revenue from oil.
The tax expert, who stated this while fielding questions from newsmen at the opening ceremony of the 23rd annual tax conference holding at Murtala Square, Kaduna, Kaduna State said, warned that the World is moving towards the fourth generation, highly technology-driven where Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind.
She however suggests that government and tax expert should collaborate and come up with how to tax e-commerce where multi-billion trade takes placee daily without taxation.
“The world is moving towards the fourth revolution. How much have been taxing e-commerce? We have done and still doing millions of webinars via Zoom, Telegram and others in Nigeria.
“So, we are going to look into taxation of e-commerce because we are in technology driven economy. It is a fact that COVID-19 has brought us here. In this meeting, we have about 400 participants online which is because of technological breakthrough which translate into billions of transactions taking place in the atmosphere.
“These are taxed in developed climes. But, because our technology is emerging, we need to be grounded firmly in both the software and hardware aspects of this technology. This was why we have invited experts to discuss the way forward because we cannot pretend not to know.
“We must start to build tax officers and technical people in the ministry of Finance to enable knowing the e-commerce has come to stay.
There is no other country that does what Nigeria is doing by depending only on oil. CITN has been shouting taxation since 1982 we came to be. Nobody is driving it with us. As we come along, Government has beginning to listen to us that there is no alternative to revenue other than taxation.
“People grumble and angry because they have not see what it is being used for. In other climes, you pay tax, your health facility is fixed. You pay tax, water runs. Electricity is there.
“Taxation is the in-thing. And now that we know that taxation is the in-thing, what do we do? We encourage people to pay taxes and gow do we do that, you create enabling environment, developed the infrastructure that can assure me as a farmer that when I harvest my farm produce, I have a road to take them to the market so that I can discard the middlemen. So, taxation is the in-thing”
Earlier, Kaduna State Government, Nasir El-Rufai said, “in the last few months, we have seen a rapid deterioration of oil revenue contribution to the federation account. We have got to a point in this country whether we like it or not due ta o continuous subsidy of petroleum products most of which leak to neighbouring countries, NNPC is unable to contribute anything significant to the federation account.
“We are therefore urging to come back to the truce where we can run the government and provide social services through taxation. The people sitting here are the practical men and women at the forefront of collecting taxes for the survival of our country.
“Nigeria GDP ratio is one of the lowest in the world and it is a national disgrace. Here in Kaduna State with a state domestic product of about N2 trillion, we should be collecting about N400 per annum as taxation. Unfortunately last year, we collected N50 billion which was low to what we should be collecting. That means there is a lot of work to do.
“Oil revenues are not sustainable even the oil itself is on its way out as most countries now plan for green economy in which oil will not be needed at all because industries will be converted into solar and renewables.
“So, we must begin to move away from oil. Oil is neither the answer nor the question that will solve our problem. The real solution to our problem is better and more efficient taxation of good and services in our economy”, he said.