NCCN: Harmonise, Simplify Tax Policy at Federal, States to Boost Revenue

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Kunle Aderinokun
The National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria (NCCN) has advised authorities to harmonise and simplify tax policy at Federal and Subnational level as well as expand the tax base with a view boosting tax efficiency and achieving government revenue diversification.

In fact, the council, which believed the harmonisation and simplification of the tax policy would reduce the incidence of tax on a small subset of the society, recommended a strong campaign to tackle dwindled revenue of government.

NCCN stated these in his analysis of the 2016/2017 Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) report, released by World Economic Forum (WEF) on September 28, 2016.

While noting that, “Nigeria is among the 17 economies transitioning from Factor driven to Efficiency Enhancer driven economy,” it lamented that, “Nigeria is not listed among the top 20 economies in sub-Saharan Africa.” Sub-Saharan Africa average score, it pointed out, was 3.5, 0.1 higher than Nigeria’s score.

Nevertheless, the council prescribed that, “To improve doing business environment in the country capital investments into infrastructure must be made a priority.”

It suggested that, “Nigeria can emulate Singapore who transformed their economy by putting in place necessary infrastructure which led to inclusive socio-economic growth over the years.
“The economy expanded port capacity and this created a competitive environment. They also created rapid railway systems in high density areas within the country to enable free movement of people and commodities,” it pointed out.

But, NCCN believed, “these recommendations would not be actualised if the image of the country is not improved to draw in investments.” According to the council, “It is paramount the President adopts a role of chief marketing officer portraying the country as a safe, stable and good place to do business which instils confidence in Nigeria as a country, its economy, financial institutions, financial markets and macroeconomic environment in total.”

NCCN, in the report also noted that “Nigeria’s foreign exchange revenue relies heavily on crude oil exports accounting for 90 per cent of foreign exchange earnings, lower oil prices coupled with reduced output due to militant activity in the Niger Delta have had a magnified effect on foreign reserve depletion and a fiscal shock.” It added: “For an oil producing country to import refined fuel and the philosophy of a strong naira is another contributor to depleted foreign reserves.”

According to the council, “Since the onset of the oil shock, the NCCN maintains its position that foreign exchange reserves used to defend the naira and to import refined fuel could have been reprioritised to provide fiscal space for the government and domestic private sector refining.”