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AGF implores institute to support government on tax payment

13 February 2014, 07:37

Abuja - The Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Jonah Otunla, has urged the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) to support the government to enforce tax payment in the country.

Otunla made the call on Wednesday in Abuja when the President of the institute, Mark-Anthony Dike, led other members on a courtesy visit to his office.

He attributed the challenges of inadequate revenue distribution in every Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) to poor revenue generation from taxes.

The AGF said the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) had engaged a professional firm to mobilise more taxes to boost the country’s revenue profile.

Otunla pointed out that more advanced countries relied heavily on their tax revenue, unlike what was obtainable in Nigeria.

“In many developed countries, taxes form more than 80 per cent of their collectable revenue. But here in Nigeria, because of the most imperfect and informal structures that we have, it is different.”

“I believe that taxes that are locked up in the informal sector and are not exploited contribute largely to the abysmal performance of federation revenue.”

“I will implore the institute to continue to help the government in enforcing more tax payment,” the AGF said.

He said the Office of the AGF had been collaborating with the FIRS quite significantly in strengthening the collection of tax for government.

“The Government Integrated Financial Management System (GIFMIS), Treasury Single Account (TSA) and Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) are the platforms adopted to achieve this.”

While speaking, Dike said government relied on tax revenue for provision of infrastructure and to be in better position to be responsive to the needs of the people.

He called on government to show zero tolerance to anybody who does not show tax compliance, saying “people should be made to show evidence of tax compliance”.

The CITN president said he could recall that in the 60s in Nigeria, the slogan was ``no taxation without representation’’.

“But it seems we have been quick to forget that.”

“When you pay your tax, you give yourself a voice in the society.”

“That is why we have raised our voice against the non-inclusion of CITN among the professional bodies that should attend the National Conference,’’ he said.

Dike said there was still ignorance about taxation in Nigeria, even among the elite, and that it was necessary that they should be educated more.

He advocated for the need for tax professionals to be made responsible in doing tax-related work, not only in revenue agencies, but also in every government agency.

-    NAN

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