The Director General of Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Dr. Timothy Olawale, has chided the Federal Government for resorting to borrowing spree rather than widening the tax net to ensure adequate receipts just as the President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Dame Gladys Olajumoke Simplice, called on tax practitioners to be abreast of issues in their field so as to remain relevant.
According to Olawale, who stated this at the weekend in his key note address at the virtual 42nd Induction ceremony of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) in Lagos, the country should not have been highly indebted if the country’s tax potential was effectively tapped.
He lamented that the economy has continued to lose huge amount of revenue through tax avoidance and tax evasion, saying that “taxation is an important strategy by government in promoting economic growth and development of a nation.”
His word: “We submit that taxation is a significant determinant of economic growth in Nigeria. We, therefore, recommend that government should enact policies to ensure adequate collections of taxation, after widening the tax-net. It is important for government to embark on massive awareness and sensitisation on the importance of taxation to the populace – this could be done through recognised Bodies like NECA, CITN, “Government should examine the effect of taxation on economic growth in Nigeria.
“We call on CITN and its members to continuously guide tax payers, tax authorities and government on the appropriate steps that should be taken as a nation. We, however, urge that the taxes should be on “what is owed” or due and not for the tax authorities to collect more than is legal. The responsibility to determine taxes due lies with tax practitioners”
“It is trite that taxation is an important strategy by government in promoting economic growth and development of a nation. However, the economy of Nigeria has continued to lose huge amount of revenue through the unwholesome practice of tax avoidance and tax evasion. It is on the backdrop of these challenges that government should examine the effect of taxation on economic growth in Nigeria. Specifically, the impact of Value Added Tax (VAT) on economic growth in Nigeria as well as examine the effect of Petroleum Profit Tax on economic growth in Nigeria. It is not just in the collection of taxes but its utilisation to the benefit of the citizens and the nation at large. It is my considered opinion that the country should not be indebted to such huge amount of money due to borrowing from local and foreign sources.“
To the inductees, he charged them to rise to the different challenges in the the tax field today, saying “your induction into the Institute is coming at a time when our country, and organised businesses in particular, are in dire need of more professionals to handle their affairs. It is also coming at a time when many of our obsolete Tax Laws are undergoing review to meet current realities, and at a time where the Courts/Tribunals are setting aside Orders made by Government as well as check-mating activities of government officials on illegal taxes and levies. Your induction is coming at a time when technology has made things easier – thus, prompt actions are required. I, therefore, charge you all, as new Taxation Professionals, to respond to this call and contribute to the development of the country.
It is also of immense importance, to be diligent in rendering your professional services and make professionalism, integrity and honesty your core values. Remember to be a worthy Ambassador of the Institute.
Speaking at the event, Dame Simplice said with the developments around the world, “it is important as tax professionals that we should be abreast of daily developments in the tax terrain otherwise, we would be on the disadvantaged side.
“As professionals, we must be on top of current policies and developments in theprofession to be able to enlighten our clients on reliefs available to them. This wouldassist them in reducing their exposures and going concern while also ensuring that they are able to fulfil their taxes obligations as and when due.”