Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
In a bid to increase enrolment into the tax net and boost revenue generation, the federal government is set to recruit no fewer than 7,500 graduates as outreaches in communities across the country in order to raise awareness on the tax system
This is a deliberate move by government to recruit more people into the tax net with the overall aim of boosting revenue generation.
The planned recruitment of 7,500 community tax liaison officers would be tied to the government’s N-Power programme.
The Minister of Finance, Mr. Kemi Adeosun, who revealed this in Abuja yesterday alongside the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Babatunde Fowlers, said when recruited, the graduates would be trained and deployed in communities with a view to raising tax awareness among the populace.
The recruits, who would be trained and deployed in communities, are expected to go to schools, churches, mosques, and markets, among others, to enlighten people on the tax system and as well as their obligations.
“We will be recruiting them through N-Power and they can apply through the website of the Federal Ministry of Finance or through the N-Power website.
“It’s a two-year fixed contract and they will be deployed to states, attached to state Internal Revenue Service or FIRS. Their job is to improve the level of education on Nigeria’s tax system.
“Our tax system is progressive, meaning those who earn less should pay less and those who earn more should pay more. A lot of people don’t know that. So it is a chance to get people on ground to answer all these pertinent questions.
“This exercise is extremely important for the fiscal sustainability of states because as you know, most of the revenue for states, apart from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) is supposed to come from tax.
“So if we improved the number of taxpayers, we will be improving the fiscal health of our state governments as well as the federal government. It is an important initiative for the nation as we undertake reforms to reduce our over dependence on oil.
“We have to make sure that everyone who is economically active pays tax, no matter how little, they have to contribute to the pool,” she said.
The minister noted that out of an estimated 69 million taxpayers either working for themselves or fully involved in one economic activity or the other, only 14 million were registered.
“The level of enrolment is very low. One of the things we attribute to this is lack of awareness of the tax system. They do not know who regulates. They do not know what to do…,” she said, adding that besides this class of people, there also exist those who don’t want to pay. “One of the priorities is to get more people to know their obligations and their responsibilities.
Today, what we are doing is the N-Power scheme. We will be recruiting what we call community tax liaison officers, 7’500 of them. We are going to train them. We are going to give them a one-week intensive training here in Abuja and then there will be follow-up training. Their duty is to increase tax awareness, enrol more citizens into the tax database and to ensure that from primary to university, people understand the tax system,” she added.
The minister said the target was to increase enrollment into the tax system by 35 per cent or from the current 14 million taxpayers to between 17 and 18 million.
She said the tax liaison officers would not in any way act as tax collectors.
On the kind of graduates who would considered for recruitment, Adeosun said accountants, mathematics graduates and others with needed proficiency were qualified to apply.
She also said the remuneration for the recruits would be paid N30, 000 monthly as stipulated in the N-Power programme, adding that an added incentive would be available and is performance-based.
This, she said, would be measured by the number of people enrolled during the two-year period.