Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, has said citizens have their share of blame in Nigeria’s poor and unstable economy, due to their continuous refusal to pay tax.
The SGF made this known at the 2nd edition of Civil Society Tax Compliance Advocacy workshop organised by Initiative for Leadership and Economic Watch in Nigeria, with the theme; “Tax Remittance, the Economic Challenges yes; Repositioning the Nation’s Economy in the Face of COVID-19 Pandemic Through Tax Compliance among Citizens,” yesterday in Abuja.
Represented by the Principal Admin Officer, Office of the Secretary General of the Federation (OSGF), Onyegbule Chinyere, he noted that the relationship among government, the citizens and tax remittance must be cordial for overall economic gains.
The SGF stressed that citizens must pay their taxes while government ensure the taxes were adequately utilised in developing the country.
His words: “Citizens’ continuous tax default has further plunged developing nations into recession even when the economy is said to be out of recession. The obvious fact is that the economic operations of developing nations with citizens’ low tax remittance make the countries economically feeble. ”
Unknown to the citizens, they are also indirectly contributing to the government’s low performance which is occasioned by their refusal to remit accrued taxes to the government as and when due. It is a two-way thing.
When one fulfills his/her statutory obligations of tax remittance to the government accurately, the other one will have a positive impact to keep the economy stable.”
Mustapha, who said lack of sensitization on citizen’s tax remittance was a reason behind citizens’ disobedience to tax rules, procedure, and extant laws, harped on the need to correct misdirected opinions on tax remittance and put robust tax policies in place.
Executive Director, Initiative for Leadership and Economic Watch in Nigeria, Splendour Agbonkpolor, said there was need to strengthen Nigeria’s tax operating systems for compliance in line with global best practices to further engender overall economic growth and remove all hindrances inimical to national economic development.
According to him, there was need to raise public awareness on the importance of tax compliance and revenue generation to sustain the nation’s economy. “Surveys have proven that the tax revenue generation by the government can only increase with a corresponding raise of public awareness on tax compliance across the federation.
“As an intervention, we and our civil society colleagues have designed a Nationwide Awareness Advocacy targeted for corporate and private citizens on tax compliance, and as it connects to the capacity of the government to fund development as we all desire for our dear country,” he said.
The Bursar, University of Benin, Dr. Victor Imagbe, who said rapid economic growth in Nigeria was possible only when the gains in the informal sector was harnessed via tax, noted that the informal sector makes up a significant portion of economies in developing countries.