People will pay tax if govt. provides commensurate infrastructure, services — Institute

The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), said that more Nigerians would pay their taxes if only government would leave up to its responsibility of providing adequate infrastructure and improved services.

The CITN Chairman, Abuja chapter, Mr. Ogbeida Benjamin said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.

According to him, Nigerians are good people and if they see the monies being used and utilized appropriately, they will pay their taxes.

“We have states that are doing well and people are voluntarily paying taxes in those states because they can see their taxes working for them.

“The government should help the masses by providing good health care services, education, and roads, then people will voluntarily pay their taxes.’’

Reacting to the Federal Government’s plans to boost non-oil revenue in 2019 by introducing additional taxes, Benjamin said that there was nothing wrong as long as government shoulder its responsibilities.

He reminded Nigerians that tax compliance was a double edge sword in the sense that government could not be held accountable if they failed to pay tax.

Benjamin advised the government to increase sensitization of the public on taxation, as many people still do not understand how tax works and why they should pay their tax.

Benjamin also advised the government to improve its database on taxpayers, especially data on people that were into businesses to ensure that it collects the right amount as tax.

“In the 2019 budget, the government seems to be dwelling more on domestic revenue and less dependence on foreign borrowing.

“However, there is the need to educate people on the need to pay their tax because most of the revenue needed to execute the 2019 budget is expected to come from tax.

“So we in CITN are appealing to citizens to try and pay their actual taxes. This will also be done by trying to get more people into the tax net,’’ he said.

Benjamin pledged that in 2019, the CITN would complement the job of the government by encouraging people to pay their taxes and pay it correctly as and when due.

He also advised the government to increase the minimum wage from N18,000 to the proposed N30,000 to help workers put in their best.

NAN reports that on Wednesday, President Muhammadu Buhari presented an N8.83 trillion budget for 2019 before the joint sitting of the National Assembly.

The fiscal plan for 2019 is smaller compared to N9.12 trillion budgeted for 2018.

The budget shows that N2.14 trillion will be spent on debt servicing, while capital expenditure is expected to gulp N2.03 trillion.

The government also intends to spend N4.04 trillion on recurrent expenditure and N492.36 billion on statutory transfer in the 2019 fiscal year.

The fiscal policy is predicated on crude production of 2.3 million barrels a day, an oil price of 60 dollars per barrel and an exchange rate of N305 to the dollar.

To this end, the Federal Government is expected to raise N3.73 trillion through oil revenue, N1.39 trillion through non-oil revenue and N1.225 trillion through other revenue sources. (NAN)

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