Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has emphasised the need for the prompt payment of taxes by citizens to enable the government to address the country’s various challenges.
He pointed out that the country’s fiscal challenges were tied to inadequate revenue especially in the face of lower oil revenue.
Osinbajo credited providence and good policies of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration as the factors that had enabled the country to cope with economic pressure especially during the trying moment of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The VP, who spoke in Jos on Saturday, November 20, 2021, at the graduation ceremony for 85 participants of Senior Executive Course, SEC 43, 2021 at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, Kuru, Jos, Plateau State, also called on the new members of the national institute, (mni) to be in the frontline of promoting the nation’s unity.
According to him, “…There are possibilities, we are not facing an uncertain future. Generalized restrictions on trade are counterproductive especially when they impede the ability of local industries to procure inputs.
“Our focus would be on allowing import of goods to which value can be added for domestic consumption and exportation for example importing cotton for garment making.
“Someone may argue that we should ensure that we grow all our cotton but the issue is that where the jobs are created, it is in value addition. Bangladesh for example only grows two percent of their annual cotton requirement but it is the largest garment exporter in the world. It imported $11.8 billion of textile and apparel while it exported $31 billion worth of garments in 2019, much higher than what it imported.
“The fiscal challenge facing Nigeria is inadequate revenue especially in the face of lower oil revenue and your research pointed that out, it is, therefore, essential to improve tax administration for the vigorous collection of revenue due to the federal government from all its Ministries, Departments and Agencies and bring all high earning agencies into the federal budget.
“In Nigeria, we have about 142 million people, individuals who pay a self-assessed tax of more than N10 million, I am not talking about companies, I am talking about individuals, 90 percent of them are from Lagos State. So, in this whole country, people with Rolls Royce big cars and all sorts only that tiny fraction pay that N10 million in self-assessed tax. Everybody else claims to earn never enough to be able to pay that kind of money”.
He added, “So, we need to be more aggressive about tax collection, excessive tax collection from those who certainly have the resources. Concurrently, we must lower customs duties and tariffs on raw materials and intermediate goods used in manufacturing while giving reciprocal non-tariff-based support like procurement subsidy and tax rates to priority sectors.
“We must create a conducive environment for businesses to thrive, we need to eliminate red tape, extortion, and harassment of small businesses which increases their costs. Let me remind our new mni that every mni belongs to an elite club of thought leaders in Nigerian.
“You are in the frontline of our efforts to build a better future for our country. You must be the first promoter of Nigeria’s unity, the policy work that you produce here which you submitted to Mr. President shows clearly what can be done where the best Nigerian minds regardless of ethnicity or religion working together for the good of our nation and the people and I think we demonstrate here every year with members of the national institute that it is possible for our country to be united and work together for the common good of our nation.”
Source: The Nation