The President, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, Chief Mac-Anthony Dike, has identified insecurity and corruption as impediments to increased tax revenues for the governments.
He stated that insecurity had reduced economic activities, driven tax collectors away and made citizens unable to pay taxes in some states where insecurity and insurgency were rampant.
Speaking during the quarterly summit of the CITN in Ilorin last week, he called for an end to insecurity in Nigeria to ensure the safety of lives and property and to boost economic activities through tax collection.
Dike said, “First and foremost, security concerns bring about disruption in economic activities. You cannot talk of tax collection or tax administration in an area where there is insecurity. Certainly, once the economic activity is not there and income is not generated, even the tax offices are virtually closed because everybody is afraid for his life, then the expected government revenue from taxes cannot be realised in those areas.”
The CITN boss also said the alleged corruption by government officials was an impediment to the payment of taxes.
He urged government functionaries to be prudent and transparent in the management of public funds and called on the people to continue to pay taxes.
He also advocated stiffer punishment against corrupt government functionaries and other individuals involved in tax administration.
He cautioned multinational companies who were either evading taxes or not paying appropriate taxes to refrain from such financial misdeeds.
Dike said, “Those who embezzle government revenue and fail to apply the tax payers’ money to provide goods and services should be rounded up, summarily tried and sentenced to not less than 15 years imprisonment.
“Government should develop zero tolerance for those who do not show fidelity to payment of taxes. Why should government be co-habiting people who have not shown evidence that they have paid tax but they are rather more interested in coming to consume or steal that which other people have contributed? People say that there must be tax clearance certificate for those who want to vie for offices; not just that they pay tax; but are they paying adequate tax?
“Why should people be opposing it? Why should people use the instrumentality of the law to circumvent the proper conduct in a civilized society?”
The Ilorin District Chairman, Chief Olusola Olaniyi, stated that training and manpower development of the members as well as public enlightenment were essential to achieve transformation in tax administration.
The Commissioner of Finance, Kwara State, Mr. Demola Banu, lamented the decline in government revenues.
He added that it was essential for tax professionals to work with the government to improve internally generated revenue.