* Set up tax monitoring committee
Gbenga Sodeinde in Ado Ekiti
The informal sector in Ekiti State has kicked against what it describes as double taxation in the state, as it has also tasked government on proper utilization of tax being collected from the people.
In view of this, a seven-man committee was set up after a two-day workshop in Ado Ekiti, which was organized by Situation Room, UK International Development in partnership with New Initiative for Social Development.
The committee tagged, ‘Tax for Service Group Ekiti State’, comprises representatives from different sectors in the state such as artisans, market women and community leaders, among others, and was set up to stop double taxation and ensure proper utilization of the tax being collected by the state government.
Addressing newsmen after a stakeholders meeting in Ado Ekiti, a representative of the committee, Pastor Akin Abimbola, explained that the group would serve as representative of tax payers and ensure effective monitoring of government programmes for judicious use of money realized.
Abimbola noted that members of the committee would also embark on massive campaign to enlighten the public on the need to pay their taxes and also organize periodic dialogue with government for proper utilisation of the taxes.
He promised that the committee would guard against multiple taxation that often discourages people from paying their tax in the state.
According to him, “This committee is set up to monitor government activities, to collaborate with the government on tax education, to collaborate with the government to identify and stop tax leakages in the state.”
“We are taking a queue from the experiences of the hoteliers association, where the government was already paid 7.5 per cent of all the services being rendered in the hotel to the Federal Government.
“The Nigerian constitution provides that the 7.5 per cent and a very considerable percentage of it comes back to the state government and part of it to the Federal Government. Whereas, the state government is also coming up again to collect additional 5 per cent aside the 7.5 per cent, which will now measure up to 12.5 per cent of the same service. This will have a heavy slap on the masses. Also, the economy will be palatable and it is already affecting patronage in some of our business areas.
“The state government, on the consumption tax, according to them targets basically and only limited to the hospitality sector, the hotels, the fast food and the event centres.
“It was specifically stated in that law and we are willing to dialogue with the government on the issue of multiple and double taxation to ensure that all grey areas are addressed for tax payers to be comfortable in paying tax
“This should be done right from the House of Assembly. If the government is going to do it, this group will serve as a middleman between the government and our people to interface and tell the government what the tax payers want to get from the government, what is expected of them is to ensure that things go well and the tax paid and if taxes are paid, then quality and better infrastructure will come from the government on the taxes that are being paid.
“So, we condemn outright and in strong terms double and multiple taxation, as well as uncertainty and inequality in tax payment.
“We will ensure accountability and transparency, we will engage the government and other stakeholders in periodic dialogue sessions. And if government fails to use tax for societal development, it will be called out.”
The Executive Director of New Initiative For Social Development (NISD), Mr Biodun Oyeleye, said the meeting, on ‘Improving Governance Through Tax For Service In Ekiti State’ was designed to address the issues surrounding the payment of taxes and the impact of its deployment on the taxpayers.