By Ogundiran Michael Blessing
Congratulatory messages have been trickling for some individuals since the inception of new government at the federal level. This is due to the prerogative of Mr. President to form cabinets that will aid fulfillment of the promises he made during the electioneering period. You are fortunate to be one of these individuals selected among over 200million Nigerians. For this, I congratulate you.
You have been chosen to head an agency that controls a fiscal policy tool which can make or mar the economy of a nation. That speaks volume. Tax has been a major source of income to the government of this nation. This means it is an issue we must not sidetrack if our nation is determined to annihilate the urge to borrow loans whenever our liquidity position is bayoneted.
Taking up this position has made a greater onus lie on you. Nigerians are expecting a lot from you sir. The perceptions towards tax in a nation differ. Quarters in government will expect you and your men to rake in huge taxes as revenue for the government. Quarters among the citizens will not prefer increment in tax revenue due to the fact that more tax burden will be placed on them. This is coupled with the distrust the citizens have in government and your agency. Sir! It behoves on you to devise means to ensure balancing as regard that.
Permit me to set agenda for your administration as I do for individuals taking new positions in government. This is what I consider as a contribution to my nation.
Your principal, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has told Nigerians that his administration will attain 18% Tax-to-GDP ratio. This can never be done without your agency. The erstwhile chairman achieved more than 10%. In a bid to achieve this, increasing tax rates should not be included in options. Blocking leakages and loopholes among officials of the tax authorities should be considered. Introduction of new technologies and advancement of existing ones such as tax promax should be considered. You should also consider expanding the tax bracket to make taxpayers evading and avoiding payment of taxes fall into tax net.
The tax authority under your watch must put an end to instigating resident taxpayers (companies and individuals) paying taxes in dollar. This adds to the scarcity of dollars thereby depreciating our currency. Taxes should be paid in Naira.
Proffering lasting solution to the problem of multiple taxes should be prioritized. Humongous number of businesses has divested due to various taxes paid coupled with other economic woes. Your principal have been traversing the world to generate global traffic into the nation by wooing foreign investors. Tax here and there will not make an enabling environment for potential investors but make a kettle of fish for their businesses.
It is no more a novel that Nigerians pay implicit taxes by fixing roads in their communities and discharging other government responsibilities. This is so disheartening in a country with huge tax revenue. Mr. ZACCH! You have to gain public trust for the government during your stay in office. Advise your principal who is a democrat to do needful and await the consequential effects of the action on your revenue for the government.
I understand you have been working with the adhoc Presidential Committee on Fiscal policy and Tax Reform chaired by Mr. Taiwo Oyedele FCA since you were the special adviser to the president on revenue matters. It is advisable to continue corroborating the committee’s efforts towards achieving it purpose. Do not hesitate to contribute to plummeting inflation rate, increasing GDP by attaining the 18% proportion of the FIRS and making the economy a buoyant one through various means.
It is pertinent and exigent to note that working at cross-purposes with other government agencies will not pay the country. Collaborate with them and achieve success.
I pray the good Lord help you and make you prolific while in acting capacity for 90days, as a substantive chairman if confirmed by the upper chamber of the national assembly and beyond your stay in office.
God bless you! God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria! Amen!!!
Ogundiran Michael Blessing can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org