Shettima: Govt’ll Improve Efficiency of Nation’s Tax Collection System Without Overburdening Nigerians

Deji Elumoye in Abuja 

Vice President Kashim Shettima has stressed the commitment of the President Bola Tinubu’s administration to revamping the nation’s tax system without overburdening Nigerians.

Specifically, he said the fundamental motive of the administration is not to increase the tax burden on Nigerians but to improve the efficiency of tax collection.

Speaking Thursday while receiving in audience a delegation from the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) at the State House, Abuja, Shettima noted that no Nigerian is pleased with the illegal tax collection happening across the entire country by non-state actors.

Seeking CITN’s insights on attracting foreign direct investment through competitive company tax rates, the Vice President said: “The focus of the President Bola Tinubu administration is not to increase the tax burden on Nigerians but to improve the efficiency of tax collection. That is our fundamental motive.

“As you go across every state, you get to at least five or six places where you have to pay all sorts of fictitious taxes that do not get to the pockets of the government,” he added.

Shettima stressed the importance of collaborating with the CITN to adopt global best practices in tax administration, pointing out that “knowledge is not something you can buy in the market square; you have to earn it”.

Earlier in his remarks, CITN President, Samuel Agbeluyi, commended the Federal Government’s efforts to address the needs of Nigerians, citing the recent suspension of the Cyber Security Levy as a prime example.

He applauded the administration’s initiatives, including unifying exchange rates, attracting foreign investment, establishing the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms, as well as deploying monetary policy measures to stabilise the naira, combat inflation, and recapitalize banks.

Agbeluyi outlined the CITN’s multi-pronged goals, chief among which is forging a strategic partnership with the government to ensure the smooth implementation of the fiscal policy committee’s recommendations.

He advocated the professionalisation of tax functions within government agencies, recognizing exemplary tax professionals and taxpayers through national honours, and fostering a robust working relationship between the CITN and the Vice President’s office on fiscal matters.

“We believe that our collaborative efforts will contribute significantly to the realisation of a tax system that is fair, transparent, and capable of driving Nigeria’s economic growth and development,” Agbeluyi stated.

The CITN boss pledged to provide technical and professional advice to the government at all levels, contributing to the development of an efficient tax system that fosters ease of doing business, accountability, and prudent utilization of taxpayers’ resources.

Also on Thursday, the Vice President called on leaders in Nigeria’s capital market to restructure the system with a view to deploying strategies that would attract more youths to leverage opportunities in the sector.

The restructuring of the sector, accirding to him, should include, among other things, the strengthening of internal mechanisms to checkmate unwholesome practices by unscrupulous persons in the market.

Shettima made the call when he received the management of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) led by its 13th President and Chairman of Council, Mr Oluropo Dada, on a courtesy visit to him at the State House. 

Speaking on the contributions of CIS to the nation’s economy, the Vice President observed that while the institute’s position in the economy is critical, it has been grossly underutilized over the years.

He called for the complete overhaul of the system and deployment of innovative measures for potentials in the space to be fully harnessed.

According to him: “There is a need to think outside the box to get more people to participate in the stock market. How do you get more youths to be interested in the Nigeria capital market? You need to develop and put in place strategies to engage more youths to take advantage of the opportunities in the capital market.

“I also want to urge you to go and put in place structures and a mechanism to checkmate sharp practices in the capital market. Go and strengthen your internal mechanism for watching your members, a lot of things are happening that have discouraged many people from participating in the sector”.

Shettima noted that a vibrant stock market can lead to positive growth in the economy, hence the need for all stakeholders to develop a keen interest in happenings in the market.

The Vice President assured the institute of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration’s unwavering support for its activities, including efforts to review the Act establishing CIS and its quest to have members participate in the programmes of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS).

Earlier, President of CIS, Mr Dada, commended the Tinubu administration for its bold and courageous policies, and programme, including the petrol subsidy removal, banking sector recapitalization and reforms in the foreign exchange market.

He called on Nigerians to show more understanding and cooperate with the administration, assuring that the Federal Government will meet and even surpass the expectations of Nigerians in the key sectors in the economy.

“After one year in office, the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has not disappointed the capital market. We are seeing all the key indices and figures,” the CIS President said.

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