By Ugo Aliogo
The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has said an improvement in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), blocking tax leakages, creating new tax sources and improved efficiency in tax collection, would lead to improvement in socio-economic.
He said there is a direct correlation between tax payments, usage, economic and infrastructural development.
Fayemi, who disclosed this recently in a webinar said the NGF has set up internally generated revenue dashboard that focuses on sharing knowledge and experiences in tax collection and revenue generation across States.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) revealed that leaders need to ensure that resources generated from tax payers are effectively utilised, adding that government at all levels should ensure that tax leakages are plugged and properly utilised.
In her remarks, the Minister for Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said low revenue remains a challenge Nigeria is currently grappling with.
Ahmed, who was represented during the webinar by Special Adviser to the President Muhammadu Buhari on Finance and Economy, Dr. Sarah Alade, said the Covid-19 pandemic and the inherent lockdown meant that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria would in its best-case scenario contract by four per cent, “and in the worst-case scenario contract by about eight per cent.”
The minister noted that up to 21 million jobs could be affected by the pandemic.
Ahmed reaffirmed that the recently launched Economic Sustainability Plan would help mitigate against the effects of the lockdown and ensure stability through the support of MSME’s, accelerate infrastructural development, deregulation of refined petroleum products, incentivizing the use of pension funds and supporting States to access external funds and others.
She reiterated that revenue mobilisation was important, saying debt relief and external funding must be sought to achieve this.
The executive chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service of Nigeria (FIRS), Mr. Mohammed Nami, said FIRS was rewarding professionalism in its system and deploring technology in its operations to ensure the payment and collection of taxes are easier.
Nami added that the FIRS was boosting the morale of tax payers through communication portals where members of the public can engage him and other senior members on tax issues directly.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission Chief and Senior Representative to Nigeria, Ms. Jesmin Rahman, said that it was important for Nigeria to raise trust in public institutions and services by ensuring accountability.
She said this can be achieved through increasing tax revenue, expansion of the tax base and modernization of the tax system.
Rahman further explained that Nigeria needs to raise its revenue and that policies needs to be made to make the number of registered voters commensurate with the percentage of active tax payers which is currently low.
“Worldwide and in sub-Saharan Africa, countries that rank the highest in fighting corruption and having good governance are also the ones with higher tax morale and collection. Fiscal transparency and accountability are very important,” Rahman added.
Delivering his opening remarks, the chairman of the board of the NESG, Mr. Asue Ighodalo said that it was vital for the federal government to diversify revenue base, enhance economic growth and protect the economy from external shocks through enhancing the country’s fiscal policy.
He stated that in 2018, the NESG in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation established the Fiscal Policy Roundtable (FPR) which is made up of 10 world-class and renowned technocrats including Dr. Sarah Alade, “and Dr. Doyin Salami who served as pioneer co-chairs and who have been replaced by the equally capable hands of Dr. Suleiman Ndanusa and Professor Teju Somorin.”