Private sector Think-Tank, Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) is set to unveil the findings of its nationwide survey on tax perception and drive government-citizen engagement for sustainable fiscal reforms through the launch of its “Better Tax” initiative. Better Tax, scheduled for launch in Lagos on May 15, is a service of the NESG’s Fiscal Policy Roundtable in its commitment to building a globally competitive economy through fiscal consolidation that impacts the citizenry and drives holistic national development. The initiative seeks to create a platform for discourse between government and the citizenry that will reshape tax perception. It is expected to transform tax from being perceived as a burden to a tool for socio-economic development.
Experts have long advocated a refocus of the economy to the non-oil sector following the 2014 crash in global oil prices. Reinforcing this argument, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Chairman, Babatunde Fowler, disclosed that the non-oil sector outpaced the oil sector with a 54% contribution to the N5.32 Trillion revenue generated in 2018. Aligned with this development, government has set a policy priority to significantly boost the share of non-oil revenue by 2020. However, Nigeria’s low tax compliance levels thwart the realisation of this revenue mobilisation objective. In 2018, FIRS disclosed that about 6,772 billionaire businesses in Nigeria did not pay tax, adding that this category of organisations have between N1billion and N5 billion turnover in their accounts, but had no Tax Identification Number (TIN). About 57 million Nigerians are economically active, but the vast majority are not registered to pay Personal Income Tax. “Better Tax sets a radically different tax reform agenda for Nigeria that is impactful and proffers evidence-based solutions to address the twin-problem of low tax morale and compliance that Nigeria continues to grapple with. The research component of “Better Tax” is holistic and cuts across the six geopolitical zones. It includes all stakeholders across the tax revenue value chain such as the government, taxpayers and tax officials. The overarching objective of the project is to drive mutual collaboration and action among all stakeholders which will, in turn, see Nigeria transform its tax strategy and grow its revenue significantly in record time.” According to Dr. Sarah Alade, Chairman, NESG Fiscal Policy Roundtable: “Project Better Tax is distinct from previous tax reform initiatives because it adopts a multi-pronged approach to easing the tax burden.” The project leverages the findings of nationwide surveys to cascade information on Nigeria’s current fiscal position in a concise manner designed to educate stakeholders on the role of taxation, and the dual responsibility of citizens and the government to actualise the social contract envisaged through strict tax compliance and fiscal responsibility as obtains in developed economies.” Experts expected at the event include Chairman (NESG) Fiscal Policy Roundtable ,Dr. Sarah Alade, and Co-Chair (NESG) Fiscal Policy Roundtable, Dr. Doyin Salami. The event will also feature a panel discussion on "Making Taxation work for Nigeria" Issues, Solutions and Priorities; Panellists include the President Manufacturing Association of Nigeria, Engr. Ahmed Mansur, Executive Director Enough is Enough Nigeria Ms Yemi Ademolakun amongst others.
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