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States having 62 taxes not sustainable – CITN president

President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Samuel Agbeluyi, yesterday declared that the multiplicity of taxes is not sustainable, noting that some…

President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Samuel Agbeluyi, yesterday declared that the multiplicity of taxes is not sustainable, noting that some states parade as much as 62 taxes.

He however stated that through the work of the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms, some states are already streamlining the taxes.

He spoke during his pre-conference chat for the 26th Annual Tax Conference to be held in Abuja between Monday 13th – Friday 17th May 2024 with the theme, “Sustainable Tax Culture and Economic Roadmap for Nation Building.”

Agbeluyi stated that with harmonisation of taxes which the committee where he is also a member has proposed, the tax space can be sanitised.

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The president also called on states to call local government chairmen to order, adding, “There is no civilised environment in the world where you block roads. In those states where they still block the roads and where you put non-state actors to collect tax, we need to put a stop to this.  Taxpayers are kings and they must be respected and when they are treated as kings, of course they will comply.

“That is why we are proud of the customer-centric approach of the new Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and this is what is done everywhere in the world. So I advise revenue authorities that you don’t need to reinvent the will…Don’t tax poverty. I hope the people at the sub-nationals are listening.”

The president tasked the sub-national governments to give autonomy to the state Inland Revenue Service to improve on their efficiency and effectiveness in tax collection.

He said a state internal revenue service cannot be an appendage of the Ministry of Finance. He stated that many states that have given autonomy to the Inland Revenue Service are doing well.

“While we keep on focusing on the federal government, we need to pay attention to the sub-nationals. Nigeria cannot grow by just focusing on the federal government,” he added.

He stated that one area that the states can tap into is to bring many Nigerians who are working virtually for various international organisations without presence in the country.

“If you don’t have the technical know-how to profile them, you can’t bring them to the tax net. Those working with international organisations need to be captured and many people doing business are not also captured,” he said.

The president further stated that the conference would explore issues around tariff and economic growth, impact assessment of the manufacturing sector, adding, “The manufacturers have had their fair impact on the tough economic terrain. They play a major role in our economic activities and we are bringing people from that space to tell us their challenges.”

He however hailed the economic policies of the government, saying the impact might not be felt in the immediate term but in the long run the country would be better for it. “We are turning the corner. The president should hold the country together and reach out to people who are to pay tax…” he said.