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Tax dialogues crucial for strengthening tax systems- FIRS

The Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Mr. Muhammad Nami, has described tax dialogues as a tool for engendering tax compliance through collective ownership and strengthening of tax systems.

Nami spoke in Kaduna at the 2022 Kaduna State Tax Dialogue on Saturday where he noted that dialoguing on tax was very necessary for inclusivity, fairness and pooling expert ideas to aid tax policy formulation, which ultimately strengthens tax administration.

A statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Communication, Johannes Oluwatobi Wojuola, quoted the FIRS boss as saying that “Dialoguing on tax is very important for many reasons.

“Tax dialogue is a multi-sided communication channel that enables every view to taxation be aired and considered. By so doing, it lends itself to inclusiveness in the design and implementation of the tax system thereby engendering the spirit of collective ownership which, ultimately, promotes voluntary tax compliance; dialoguing on tax prevents destructive conflicts as no one feels cheated or unfairly treated.

“Examples from history are rife on the importance of engagements on tax issues. For instance, the then British Parliament passed the Tea Act which constrained Americans to buy tea on which duty had been paid without dialoguing with the people. Consequently, the Act was rejected. According to Richard Murphy, in his book — the “Joy of Tax” —, one of the complaints cited by those who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 was ‘The King which was imposing taxes on us without our Consent’.

“When governments do not dialogue with the people on the taxes they wish to impose, they create room for conflict and even rebuff.

“Crucially, tax dialogue provides the platform for pooling expert ideas to aid tax policy formulation, review of tax laws and ultimately the strengthening of tax administration,” he said.

Speaking on the concept of the “Social Contract” that exists between the government and the citizens, Nami explained that for the government to provide public goods for the enjoyment of citizens, citizens had the duty to provide government with the needed resources to do so by paying their taxes.

“As much as individuals running the apparatus of government are liable to satisfy the yearnings of citizens for public goods, it is the duty of the citizens to supply the resources required. This is the Social Contract.

“The Social Contract is two-sided – it involves the duty of government to provide public goods for the enjoyment of citizens on the one hand; and the duty of citizens to provide government with the resources needed to provide those public goods on the other hand. Citizens fulfil their side of the Social Contract by paying taxes with minimal prompting,” he said.

He noted that two key drivers of voluntary tax compliance are effective communication and trust, and that “Tax Authorities must develop effective tax communications strategies while governments, at all levels, must ensure taxpayers receive value for taxes paid.”

The FIRS boss further called on tax authorities to implement data-driven tax administrations, noting that “modern and efficient tax administration is run with data.”

“The time is ripe for Nigerian tax authorities to start using data to identify all taxable persons, track all economic activities and determine tax payable.

“Nigeria needs appropriate statutory framework for a centralised data sourcing, warehousing, analysis and retrieval system that every tax authority can plug into.”

Nami also called for the harmonisation, at all levels of government, of all revenue generating functions into a single platform under the administration of one revenue authority to reduce cases of uncertainty and instability in the economy.

Experts rally support for non-oil exports to diversify, stimulate economy

By Godfrey AKON

Economic experts have stressed that Nigeria’s vast non-oil endowment must be urgently leveraged to diversify and expand its revenue base, reduce the dependence on crude oil for foreign exchange earnings, and stimulate rapid economic growth.

Speaking at a non-oil export trade seminar organised by First City Monument Bank, FCMB, in Lagos, policymakers, financiers, export trade experts and value chain players insisted on leveraging the vast non-oil sector to bolster the country’s ailing economy.

The Seminar, with the theme “Refocusing Nigeria’s Economic Development Through Non-Oil Exports,” was the fifth in a series, aimed at transforming the non-oil sector into the primary driver of economic growth.

Managing Director of FCMB, Mrs Yemisi Edun, identified non-oil export as a catalyst for rapid economic growth.

Edun said it would reduce Nigeria’s vulnerability to external shocks undermining the economy. Mrs Edun affirmed FCMB’s commitment to the sector, especially opportunities in the African Continental Free Trade Area.

She commended the Central Bank and Bankers’ Committee for introducing the Road To $200 billion, RT200, to fast-track the diversification of the economy’s productive base through export. Mrs Edun disclosed that the programme increased foreign exchange inflow significantly by about $600 million in the first half of 2022.

On his part, Mr Ezra Yakusak, CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, lauded the “Road To $200 billion, RT200, programme.

Represented by the Regional Director of the Council, Mr Samuel Oyeyipo, Yakusak said it offers ample opportunities for operators in export trade to scale up.

According to the NEPC Boss, Nigeria’s abundant natural resources provide a good and solid base for rapid industrialisation if we make the necessary financial provisions.

He disclosed that huge opportunities abound for Nigerian manufacturers that can get it right in Nigeria and other African markets.

He further disclosed that between January and June 2022, Nigeria exported products worth $2.593 billion, representing a 62.37 per cent increase from the $1.59 billion exported within the same period in 2021.

Also speaking, the Head of Strategic Planning at the Nigerian Export-Import Bank, NEXIM, Mr Tayo Omidiji, called for capital investment in the sector. He said enhanced credit flow to the non-oil export sector, primarily to support capital investments in productive assets, will lead to economic diversification.

“Given Nigeria’s endowment in agriculture, solid minerals and services sector, Nigeria has vast potential to grow non-oil exports and diversify its export revenues.”

FCMB is a dominant export trade solutions provider. The Bank offers value-added solutions that include financial facilities, pre-shipment and post-shipment, project finance, working capital and payment guarantees. Others are, market information, supply chain management and export advisory services.

First City Monument Bank is a purpose beyond-profit commercial banking institution. We are a member of FCMB Group Plc, a financial services holding company led by Ladi Balogun as Group Chief Executive. The Bank is committed to COVID-19 recovery, income equality and poverty reduction by easing credit constraints to disadvantaged individuals and businesses.

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