From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State on Wednesday stressed the need to expand the tax net to capture the state’s affluent demographic who are unwilling to pay their taxes.
He insisted that the tax regime should not overburden poor citizens trying to eke out a daily living.
The governor spoke in Asaba while declaring open the 2021 Maris Annual Lecture on the theme: “Effective Tax Administration for the Delivery of Democratic Dividends”.
Represented by the Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Chika Ossai, Governor Okowa said additional revenue are needed to finance basic amenities and social infrastructure by the government.
‘I sincerely encourage companies, individuals and relevant organisations to pay taxes promptly because government needs the internally generated funds to deliver on its promises to the people. Every government needs money to perform civil obligations and running of the state,’ he stated.
He noted that a good tax administration system serves as a means of redistributing wealth, as does social spending on programmes designed to overcome poverty and inequality.
‘Tax regime should not overburden the very poor citizens, who are trying to eke out daily living.
‘The system should rather identify the affluent group who, more often than not, are unwilling or reluctant to pay taxes.
‘To expand the revenue base, this class of citizens should be identified and incorporated through reform strategies to ensure increased internally generated revenue. But in doing so, a conscious effort should be made not to overcharge,’ he stated.
Guest speaker at the lecture Monday Onyeme, who is the chairman of Delta State Internal Revenue Service, stressed the need for all stakeholders to play their role to ensure effective administration of the tax regime.
Saying that tax payment was in the interest of the people, Onyeme said that only an effective tax administration can squeeze out revenue for use by the government for the benefit of the people.