States lost 40% revenue to COVID-19 pandemic — NGF | Dailytrust

States lost 40% revenue to COVID-19 pandemic — NGF

Traders and customers without regards for COVID-19 protocols engage in shopping at Idumota Market in Lagos yesterday

The Director-General of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Asishana Okauru, has said states have lost about 40 percent of their revenue to the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He disclosed this on Monday in Abuja, at the first Technology and Tax Event seminar organised by the NGF in partnership with the World Bank and the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD).

He however, said weak environment for tax policy and tax legitimacy, as well as low technological integration in tax administration, undermined efforts to mobilise domestic revenues and the capacity of tax authorities to collect taxes efficiently.

Okauru said the COVID-19 pandemic has pointed to the direction that all revenue administrations needed to move to a digital future.

“The pathways to achieving tax digitalisation may vary from state to state but the conditions remain the same, including providing broadband access and supporting the growth of digital skills in the wider economy.

“Amidst this transformation, we also recognise risks of data ownership, data protection and cyber security. This each government must envisage. It would require a strong in-house IT team and an experienced legal department that will help protect the interest of all parties, including taxpayers.

“Overall, digitisation does not only bring about efficiency, but it provides opportunities for more people to be involved.

“2020 did for technology services what the 1930s did for financial services – with the growth in the regulation of commercial, investment banks, stock and commodity exchanges. We believe tax administration should be no different,” he added.

Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mohammed Nami advised state governments to look inward on how to improve their revenue base in order to augment the shortfall of allocations from the Federation Account.