FG To Raise Tax To GDP Ratio To 18 Percent In Three Years, Says Adedeji


…Assures all taxpayers of level playing field

The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Dr. Zacchaeus Adedeji has reiterated the desire of the federal government to raise tax to GDP ratio to 18 percent in the next three years without having to impose additional taxes.

Adedeji who disclosed this in a keynote address with the theme, “Effects Of The Federal Government’s Tax Reforms On The Economy”, delivered at the 2023 Annual Workshop, Awards and Recognition organized by the Commerce and Industry Correspondents’ Association of Nigeria, CICAN in Lagos on Tuesday, observed that that this would be achieved through the use of tax laws to boost compliance.

The Executive Chairman whose address was read at the event by the Director/Coordinator, Lagos Island, FIRS, Mrs. Fadekemi Oyeniyi maintained that this assurance by the Executive Chairman had allayed fears being expressed by business entities that the policy may engender the imposition of additional or new taxes.

Describing taxation as the lifeblood of any economy, as it provides necessary funding for government to carry out its functions and implement policies that foster growth and development, Mrs. Fadekemi insisted that “it is imperative that our tax policy reforms are effective, fair and encourage investment and innovation.

She recalled that over the years, Nigeria had recognized the need for tax policy reforms to address the challenges faced by businesses and create an enabling environment for economic growth.

“It is instructive to note that part of the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is to reform the tax system. On assumption of office, he set up a Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms headed by Mr. Taiwo Oyedele with other eminent Nigerians representing various institutions and professional bodies with the mandate to reform the tax ecosystem.

“This reform is expected to lead to fiscal discipline, remove all impediments in our tax system, and eliminate the ambiguity in our tax laws that will culminate in the ease of doing business which will ultimately lead to improved revenue generated from taxes.

“Another critical aspect of our tax policy reforms is the promotion of voluntary compliance. Rather than resorting to punitive measures, we believe in fostering a culture of voluntary tax compliance through educational campaigns, awareness programmes, and taxpayer support services. By engaging with taxpayers and providing them with the necessary tools and information, a high level of compliance rate is expected to happen. This will in turn help in building trust between the government and the business community.

“As you are aware, the Oyedele-led Committee made a number of recommendations that will help businesses in the report it presented to the President recently. Some of these recommendations include the suspension of VAT on diesel and tax waiver on compressed natural gas conversion and renewable energy items; simplifying withholding tax to ease pressure on the working capital of businesses; suspension of multiple taxes that constitute a burden on poor and small businesses; waiver of penalty and interests upon full payment of outstanding tax liabilities on or before December 31, 2023. When implemented, these suggestions will go a long way in helping businesses within the country”, she said.

Noting that the FIRS was committed to creating a level playing field for all taxpayers, Mrs. Oyeniyi observed that the Executive Chairman recognized the importance of combating tax evasion and ensuring that everyone pays their fair share of taxes.

“Through improved tax enforcement mechanisms, the Federal Inland Revenue Service aims to detect tax evaders, recover lost revenue, and prevent tax leakages. This not only enhances the integrity of our tax system but also ensures that compliant taxpayers are not disadvantaged by those who evade their tax obligations.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the tax policy reforms being implemented by the Federal Inland Revenue Service under the leadership of the Executive Chairman are vital for Nigeria’s business environment. These reforms will enhance revenue generation, attract investment, promote economic growth, and ultimately improve the quality of life for all Nigerians.

“However, the success of these reforms relies not only on the government but also on the active participation and cooperation of the business community. We call upon all stakeholders to embrace these reforms, fulfill their tax obligations, and work hand in hand with the government in achieving our common goal of building a strong and resilient economy.”

Photo: Representative of the Executive Chairman/CEO, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Dr. Zachaeus Adedeji, Mrs. Oyeniyi Fadekemi, delivering the Keynote Address “Effects of the Federal Government’s Tax Reforms On The Economy” at the conference in Lagos today.

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