Low tax compliance: Trust deficit between govt, citizens responsible – CITN

Lagos: Women selling yam flour and different goods in the city of Lagos, Nigeria
Read audio

By Bushrah Yusuf-Badmus
Ilorin, Aug. 15, 2022 (NAN) The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) has attributed the low level of tax compliance in the country to trust deficit between citizens and government, among other factors

The CITN President, Mr Adesina Adedayo, said this on Monday while declaring open the 5th Annual International Academic Conference on Taxation at the Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete.

Naija247news reports that the two-day conference, organised by the CITN in collaboration with KWASU, is themed: ”Taxation and Socio-Economic Development”.

Adedayo said the citizens do not trust the government to channel tax revenues for its intended purpose.

He added that low awareness amongst citizens about their tax obligation, poor management and accountability of tax revenue by government and lack of a comprehensive data-base of taxable persons in Nigeria were also responsible for low tax compliance.

The CITN boss said the theme of the conference was apt and timely as the country was currently overburdened by huge financial debts amidst poor economic and infrastructural outcomes.

”Moreover, government’s expenditure has continuously grown above her revenue base, thereby impeding capital formation.

”It is saddening that as at today, Nigeria’s tax revenue mobilisation performance remains below her capacity as the largest economy in Africa with one of the world’s largest population.

”The current number of people captured in the Nigerian tax net is grosslly inadequate for a nation that desires to achieve development in the forseeable future,” Adedayo said.

He added that for this to change, policy makers and relevant stakeholders must continually review the existing national frameworks through critical thinking, deliberate harmonisation of such thoughts and effective implementation.

”With this background, I can assure that by the end of this conference, all stakeholders will be better informed in developing workable strategies towards improving Nigeria’s tax revenue performance for sustainable social and economic development,” Adedayo said.

He however promised that the institute would pursue the implementation of the very relevant recommendations to the best of its capacity.

The Vice-Chancellor of KWASU, Prof. Mustapha Akanbi said the theme was timely and of immense importance given the role of tax in the socio-economic development of any nation.

”You will recall that in order to boost the IGR, and curb tax evasion and avoidance at all levels, the federal government increased its VAT rate from five per cent to 7.5 per cent and introduced the Finance Act in 2020.

”These measures have not really solved the problem of the country’s socio-economic development.

‘Currently, debt servicing gulps almost 100 per cent of the revenue generated while misappropriation of public funds, high insecurity and crime rate, among others, continue to undermine efforts at development.

”I hope that the outcome of this conference will contribute meaningfully to the on-going efforts by the government and other stakeholders in promoting socio-economic development of the nation,” the vice-chancellor said.

Earlier, the Chairman, Academic Conference Committee, Prof. Kabiru Dandago, said the conference would provide opportunities for participants, the host community and everyone to extend the frontiers of knowledge in taxation and related fields.

Dandago said it would also create a nexus for policy makers in evolving better policies.
The Chairman, Kwara Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS), Mrs Shade Omoniyi, said the state remained committed to providing an enabling environment for business to thrive which will in turn improve the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).