By Terhemba Daka and Kingsley Jeremiah
Abuja — President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said the Federal Government would continue to encourage Nigerians to cultivate the culture of paying taxes by ensuring fair implementation policy and effective utilisation of resources.
The President, who spoke while receiving the leadership of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), a delegation of tax experts, at the State House, Abuja, said the National Tax Policy document had been reviewed with the aim of institutionalising a tax payment culture within the Nigerian workforce.
Also, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari said the progress made in diversifying the economy, providing social security and securing the country could be further improved with enhanced and expanded revenue base.
Meanwhile, the CITN has urged implementation of key recommendations that would usher in reforms in the nation’s tax system and turn around the current economic dilemmas.
President of the CITN, Cyril Ikemefuna Ede, who spoke on behalf of the delegation at the meeting with the President, said the review of obsolete tax laws were urgently necessary if the country must address ambiguities and unfriendly investment environment.
The tax experts also urged creation of the office of an Adviser on Taxation, national honours for deserving tax-men and tax-payers, facilitation of investment in the petroleum sector through executive push for the passage of the various legislations before the National Assembly as well as yearly budget and fiscal policy that would create room for miscellaneous taxation provisions to align tax laws with contemporary developments.
Ede, who raised the alarm over loopholes in the National Housing Fund Bill, Electoral Amendment Bill as well as proposed increase in Value Added Tax (VAT), insisted that the removal of requirement to present tax clearance certificate as condition for eligibility for elective positions remained unacceptable.
According to him, political office holders should and must lead by example to change the non-compliance tax culture in Nigeria.
The experts also asked the President to address the issues surrounding multiple taxation and earmarked taxes, abuse of tax waivers and improve tax authority capacity.
“We believe that if consideration is given to these recommendations, in the not too distant future, our tax system would be more efficient and the economy better strengthened,” the CITN president said.
Ede, who assured the President of the institute’s support for a successful second term in tenure, condemned the imposition of levy on cement, which portends less affordability of housing in the housing bill.