By Omolabake Fasogbon
The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, CITN, has charged government to enhance tax paymen by building citizens’ trust through transparency and openness.
President of CITN, Dame Olajumoke Simplice, stated this at the institute’s Annual International Academic Conference on Taxation that was held in collaboration with Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, recently.
According to the CITN president, developing countries, including Nigeria, have suffered stunted development as a result of weak tax system which is being fuelled by breached social contract between government and the governed.
Speaking further on the theme of the conference, “Taxation, Social Contract and Economic Development”, Simplice stated that the small percentage of Nigerians currently in the tax net could further threaten the country’s prospects and competitiveness in the global space.
She said, “Sustainable and adequate revenue mobilisation is a function of an effective tax system. In the same vein, there cannot be an effective tax system if the social contract is observed in breach by either party. Sadly, this is the case with developing nations of the world, Nigeria inclusive.
“On the citizen’s part, the level of tax compliance is abysmally low such that revenues from taxation cannot fund development projects. From available data from the Joint Tax Board, just about 13% of our population are in the tax net. This is not encouraging for any nation that desires to achieve development in the foreseeable future. If we could ramp up the number of active taxpayers across all sectors, the recurring budget deficits and tendency to borrow to fund the budget will be adequately addressed.
“On the governance side, there is a glaring trust deficit between the citizens and the government. They do not trust that the government would channel tax revenues for its intended purpose. The reason for this is not far-fetched. We have seen a consistent failure by successive governments in transparently accounting for revenues and executing programmes and projects that impact on the standard of living of the people.
As a way out, Simplice urged all players involved in social contract to play their part committedly to enable economic development in the country.
Also speaking, Chairman, Conference Organising Committee, Prof. Isa Kabiru Dandago, stated that the conference, which is in its 3rd year, is one of the initiatives of CITN to support members and non-members, especially those in the academic, to excel in the area of research and publication as they contribute to knowledge in the field of taxation and other related disciplines.
Chairman, Annual International Academic Conference Committee, Prof. Godwin Oyedokun also pointed out that the three-day conference would expose participants, host community, the nation and global society to trends and knowledge in taxation and related fields, as well as create nexus for policymakers.
According to Oyedokun, the institute received over 100 abstracts from which those that scaled through review process were accepted for presentation at the conference.
He said the Institute had started accepting abstracts for the 4th International Academic Conference which is slated for August, 2021.