From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja, described Nigeria’s current tax system as fragmented and inefficient, urging a harmonised platform within a single system to boost revenue generation. In a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari who spoke at the 2nd National Tax Dialogue with the theme: “Tax Harmonisation for Enhanced Revenue Generation”, expressed his administration’s commitment to an efficient tax administration that will improve tax revenue in the country.
President Buhari, expressed concern at Nigeria’s current tax system which is characterised by fragmented administration, multiple and sometimes, overlapping taxes, stressing that “In most tax-efficient nations, tax administrative processes and practices are harmonised within a single system.
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“One key deliverable of this year’s tax dialogue is the urge to promote synergy in tax administration among the different tiers of government.
“Harmonising taxpayer identification across the country is a good start; but we must do more to promote ease of doing business (including ease of tax compliance) in Nigeria.
“On our part, we have started by clarifying in the 2021 Finance Act that FIRS is the sole authority to administer tax for the Federal Government.
“This clarification became necessary in order to avoid taxpayers being burdened with multiple tax compliance obligations towards different agencies of the same government. “Multiplicity of tax administration is as undesirable as multiplicity of taxes; it creates uncertainty and instability; and above all, it is inefficient.”
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In the face of dwindling revenues from commodities, President Buhari told participants at the Tax Dialogue that there is an urgent need to maximise domestic revenue within the extant tax policy and laws.
He, therefore, proposed improved tax revenue for the country which will not necessarily impose new tax rates on Nigerians.
“We all know that good intentions are not enough as they simply cannot pay for infrastructure, security or social amenities. We must therefore improve tax revenue without necessarily raising new taxes.
“Revenue from commodities, including crude oil, are too volatile and unreliable. Therefore, I pledge government’s support for any viable initiative for improving tax revenue that should emanate from this dialogue,” he said.
On Nigeria’s Tax-to-GDP ratio, the President declared that the country also needs to do more in securing a buoyant domestic revenue base of the country that bequeaths an enduring economic foundation, political stability and social harmony to the next generation.