The ActionAid, a civil society organisation, has alleged fraud in Nigeria’s tax regime, saying there was no records of stamp duties remittances to the federal government coffers in the past three years.
The allegation was contained in a communique issued at the end of a two-day National Tax Summit organised by ActionAid in collaboration with Tax Justice and Governance Platform held last week in Abuja.
According to the communique, the summit aimed to addressing emerging issues in the Fiscal governance in Nigeria especially in the face of continuing change in the fiscal architecture of the country, occasioned by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“The 2020 summit ostensibly seeks to facilitate dialogue and reflection among the government, tax authorities, the private sector, and the citizens
to fashion out strategies to ensure a strong, inclusive, equitable and progressive tax system for the country,” it said.
The two-day summit, which attracted participants from across the country including CSOs, Media, government, including representatives of the FIRS, National Assembly and subject matter specialists, observed that there is an “inadequate/non-available framework for informal sector taxation.”
“Insufficient priority allocations from tax in the budget to the socio-economic sectors. For instance, 84.7% of federal government revenue deployed for debt servicing is antithetical to development.
“Taxation not responding effectively to escalating incidence of poverty, inequality and social inclusiveness
“No records of stamp duties remittances to the federal government coffers in the past three years.
“Low interest and action on the Beneficial Ownership policy of government by the tax administrative authority in the country to ensure intended tax benefits to the country and citizens.
“Successive tax reforms in Nigeria not gender and youth responsive while women are still the foremost recipients of negative and subhuman tax practices.”
It added that “multiple taxation is still very rampant at state and local government level in the country.
“Non-inclusive process of tax policy making in Nigeria not beneficial to the tax system as it leads to apathy, resentment and non-compliance.
“Huge revenue loss due to extended tax breaks to multinationals and high net worth companies as revenue loss to illicit financial flows increasing.
“Nigeria’s tax to GDP ratio is still quite low to make any meaningful development impact as the country yet to harness the huge tax revenue potential of the country’s digital economy.
“Low revenues of government accounts for successive low education budget in the country that is far below globally agreed benchmark of 15-20%
“Abuse of statutorymethods of tax collection mechanisms at Local Government level resulting in the engagement of cronies by Local Government Chairmen at the expense of people.
“Poor tax education and awareness among taxpayers is still quite persistent while the lack of clear road map on the real time tracking of digital transactions, especially business-to-consumer transactions and the lack of effective mechanism for VAT collection on business-to-consumer transactions.
“The national assembly not enabling sufficient space for engagement with civil Society organisation is a cause for concern.
“The 2021 Appropriation bill indicates a deficit of almost 40%. With the current debt profile of the country, the hope of the 2021 Appropriations holding benefits for the social sector (Education, health, agriculture, women affairs and National
Socia Investment Programme) is very bleak.”
The communique recommend that the government should engage a broader consultation framework with stakeholders to foster trust and deepen the conversations around tax issues in the country.