The Tax Justice and Governance Platforms (TJ&GP) groups have urged all tiers of governments and relevant agencies across the country to approach the tax administration with equity and fairness, especially in the FCT.
They made the call during a consultative engagement meeting on harmonising efforts to strengthen the tax system in the country in Abuja.
It was organised by ActionAid Nigeria, Christian Aid, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), International Budget Partnership (IBP), the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Oxfam.
National Coordinator of the TJ&GP, Chinedu Bassey noted the importance of scrutinising the accountability aspect of individuals’ tax payments and the importance of ensuring that citizens receive a fair share of the services corresponding to their tax contributions.
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“We have been addressing issues of Tax Justice, advocating for a fair and equitable tax administration system in Nigeria since 2012. It is time to ensure that the system works as it should,” Bassey said.
He expressed concern about biases favouring high-net-worth individuals who often find ways to evade taxes compared to those lower on the socioeconomic ladder, who lack such opportunities.
Bassey also questioned the fairness of the present administration’s actions, emphasising the prevalence of unauthorised tax administrators imposing burdens, particularly on women, without proper oversight.
The NLC Focal Person, Eustace James, pushed for the correct application of tax fairness so that higher-earning individuals and businesses in the nation pay more in taxes than lower-income earners.
He lamented how the government collects taxes from citizens without considering the demand side and enforces regulations more harshly on the supply side, leading to concern over the current administration’s approach to tax as drastic that rather harms the people.
“There was the need for a tax justice system in place that ensures that people pay their fair share of taxes, and there is transparency and accountability in the administration of taxes. The NLC is one of the tax justice and governance platforms that will work with you to play our role and collaborate anytime to ensure that we have a just, transparent, and equitable tax justice system in society.
“Big businesses, high-network individuals, and many of them don’t even pay their fair share of what they should pay as taxes. While those who are less trodden have no control over corporate taxes,” James said.