The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has urged state governments not to only collect taxes but also add value to the taxes collected.
The Service is also worried that 22 years since Nigeria started this democratic dispensation no legislative assembly has deemed it expedient to have a tax committee.
A statement from the FIRS yesterday said the Executive Chairman of the FIRS Mr. Muhammad Nami, gave charge in his goodwill message to the Nigeria Governors’ Forum’s Seventh Internally Generated Revenue Learning Event in Abuja.
Nami told the state governors “that tax-compliant citizens legitimately expect their leaders to provide them with necessary amenities for good living” and encouraged governments at all tiers to ensure that tax-compliant citizens enjoy the value for the taxes they pay.
According to him, “tax compliant citizens can legitimately expect their leaders to provide necessary amenities for a ‘good life”.
Nami noted that “governments at various tiers must, in view of the constitutional provisions, imbibe the culture of “value-for-money” or, put in proper perspective, “value-for tax-money”.
“We must see taxation in its proper context such that all arms of government (legislative, executive and judiciary) should accord it due attention” he said.
”Citizens should not just hear budget figures but must, within their immediate living quarters, feel, see and experience effects of tax revenue. This, going forward, should be the norm and not an exception,” he said.
Nami also urged governors to look inwards and create alternative sources of revenue away from depending on revenue from oil sources, while also urging that they adopt the right tax policies to ensure funding for infrastructure in their states.
Nigeria over the years, he said, “has been dependent on revenue from crude oil. This source of revenue is no longer sustainable as the market for fossil fuel continues to deplete due to complications arising from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the shift from fossil fuel to other cleaner sources of energy, rising cost of exploration, banditry and oil theft, etc’.
The future of crude oil as a major revenue earner, the FIRS boss warned “is very bleak. Going forward, taxation remains the only sustainable source of revenue anywhere in the world – Nigeria is not an exception”.
To this end, Nami appealed to the governors “to adopt right tax policies that will ensure adequate funding for the much needed social-economic infrastructures”.
He urged governments, “at all levels, to come together to fight tax evasion, touting, etc. which are negatively impacting tax revenue.”
Nami further called for greater attention to be given to matters of taxation especially at the state legislatures.
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