The Sun News

19m Nigerians paying tax –Osinbajo

The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Wednesday, disclosed that Nigeria has widened its tax net from 14 million in May 2017 to 19 million this year.

Osinbajo, who was the special guest of honour at the 2018 edition of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) conference, stated that as at December 2017, only 943 Nigerians paid self-assessed taxes of less than N1 million.

“Earlier, I noted that as of May 2017, only 14 million economically active Nigerians paid taxes. I am pleased to note that the number is now in excess of 19 million and still growing,” he said.

“This means that efforts led by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in collaboration with many of the states’ inland revenue services have already added more than five million new taxpayers to the tax base.

“But there is still a lot of work ahead of us, as Nigeria races to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of tax compliance. We all have a role to play in this.’’

The Vice President noted that tax issues were not exciting to anyone but that it was an argument on whether one should pay taxes or enjoy dividend of governance.

According to him, in reality it should not be debated as compliance and good governance should exist side by side as the head and tail of a social contract that binds citizens and government.

He said it was difficult to explain the cynicism displayed by Nigerians about governance and about fulfilling their tax responsibilities.

“Governments generally have the nonchalance of fulfilling their own part of the social contract. But it is also a fact that when people pay taxes, they are more inclined to hold their governments to account.’’

He noted that it was almost 300 years since “no taxation without representation’’ became the rallying cry for the US covenant and one of the main triggers of their revolution that earned US colonies at the time of independence from Great Britain.

Osinbajo noted that Nigeria had experienced the Aba and Abeokuta tax riots, which were incidentally both championed by women. “The moral is a simple one that when citizens pay their full share of taxes, they take more than a passing interest in how they are governed and how public

funds are utilised and accounted for,’’ he stated.

The Vice President said that government had relied more in the past on oil revenues than on taxation, adding that a decline in taxation depicted a decline in government’s accountability and ability to deal with the needs of the people.

He said poor tax management was one of the issues that increased corruption in the system, adding that the fact remained that the taxpayer was less tolerant of corruption than another who failed to pay. He stated that because what government spent was oil money and taxes of few persons, a lot of people saw government’s money as belonging to no one.
Osinbajo stated that the present administration was determined to change the state of affairs and also determined to restore the social contract between the government and the citizens by ensuring prudence in public expenditure.
“We have aggressively expanded the implementation of the TSA and IPPIS both designed to ensure that public funds are transparently managed and spent.
“In the process, we have succeeded in proving that process reforms are only as good and effective as their implementation.
“The TSA’s unified system of bank account domiciled in CBN has proved to be far more transparent and cost-effective than the old scenario where government agencies maintained thousands of accounts across many commercial banks. Because of the TSA, the Federal Government realises monthly saving of at least N4 billion, which could have gone on commercial bank charges alone.
“The Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) has also tightened controls on federal payrolls and pension systems, eliminating tens of thousands of ghost workers and saving us more than N200 billion that would have gone to these ghost workers,’’ he added.
Osinbajo stated that such savings were instrumental to the huge government expenditure on infrastructure and human capital development than any previous government despite the recession and dwindling earnings.
The Vice President referred to the tax innovation of the late Obafemi Awolowo as premier of the old Western Region, which enabled the administration to raise money for huge infrastructure, agriculture and free education.
He, however, noted with dismay that the states in the Western Region besides Lagos did not earn enough taxes to pay salaries and any other major development effort.
“Without federal allocation, most states cannot survive. Lagos State alone takes in as much Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) as 31 states combined. It tells you how little the other states manage to bring in in IGR,’’ he noted.
Osinbajo stated that the country’s tax-to- GDP ratio was at 6 per cent but with the reforms in the tax system might rise to 15 per cent in 2020.
He said the administration had taken steps to curtail tax evasion by multi-national companies as well as prevent citizens from hiding their assets abroad


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  1. Isaac 10th May 2018 at 1:06 pm

    This is indeed a good turnover, if individuals and company pays their tax well, this will helps the government well in using the funds to help in doing some projects and amenities for the country

  2. Abidemi 10th May 2018 at 1:18 pm

    This is highly commendable compare to what we used to have in the past. this is yet an attestation to your government effort in generating IGR for better Nigeria. however, Nigerians can still do better, we can get to 50m and more, before we can enjoy Government we need to pay our Taxes. if they didnt now do their own part we can now be criticizing them, as a good citizen we must give back and together we shall achieve a greater Nigeria. well done mr. vice president.

  3. Kenraj Mill 10th May 2018 at 1:19 pm

    This is commendable for both Federal and State Inland Revenue Service for their diligent work to ensure citizens pay their taxes… This will boost the economy of this great country. Non-compliant should do the needful for the development of this great nation and for our benefit as well…

  4. kelechi 10th May 2018 at 1:19 pm

    our hardworking vp is at it again…….with prof osinbajo i believe Nigeria is in a save hand…God bless Nigeria

  5. Sanya Emmanuel 10th May 2018 at 1:20 pm

    only this administration can achieve such a great feat, keep up the good work sir.

  6. Oladimeji 10th May 2018 at 1:21 pm

    The situation of Nigeria presently demands that all hands must be on desk on the issue of taxation. Invasion of tax is a bane of developing nation like Nigeria, It is the duty of the FG to put a vibrant policy and mechanism in place to ensure that all taxable individual, both small and medium scale business who for long had been invading taxes where bring on board to be more responsible in this regard. Government should ensure that each and every citizenry has data base to monitor there financial responsibility for the state.

  7. Aroyehun Kayode 10th May 2018 at 1:22 pm

    When we have a government who think of making the payment of tax easy we should embrace it.there is great improvement in tax payment from 14-19 million is a great

  8. Dchosen 10th May 2018 at 1:31 pm

    for the state not to rely on the allocation coming from the federal Gov the people of each state should do the needful by paying our Tax and let each state gov encourage most establishment

  9. Faith William 10th May 2018 at 1:31 pm

    Nigeria is progressing during the administration of PMB and Prof, whereby their combination as a great impact in this nation, in every sectors… i know that this is just the beginning.

  10. iyanda sunday 10th May 2018 at 3:17 pm

    The power of tax can not be joke with, its driving force for a nation building. Am pretty sure our tax is save in this present administration. PMB/ PYO are all men of integrity.

  11. adeyemi Evidence 10th May 2018 at 3:18 pm

    we need to orientate ourselves more about the benfit and advantage of paying Tax.the pancea to nation DEVELOPMENT.

  12. Adenekan Samson 10th May 2018 at 3:25 pm

    This is to Encouraging people compliant basically on tax payments. Let Nigerians stop complaining and perform their responsibilities in order to achieve our goals. The more you pay your tax, the more Nigeria will grow. This effort on the part of the federal inland revenue service is highly commendable as one body.

  13. Peace 10th May 2018 at 3:29 pm

    Prof Yemi Osinbajo has been doing excellently well for the development of this nation, i have always believed in him because of his humanitarian selfless service mind. Prof Yemi Osinbajo is a blessing to this Country. He’s doing wonderfully well to create peaceful environment for all citizen to enjoy. As a result of the creation of SIP, lots of Nigerians has benefited from it.God bless this Administration.

  14. moshood okunola 10th May 2018 at 3:37 pm

    Its a good development from the citizen of this country,once all of us know that government can not do it alone ,we must play our own role in paying tax that government will use to provide amenities for us,the era of crude oil dependency is gone since the drop of crude oil price in market…God bless nigeria….

  15. moshood okunola 10th May 2018 at 3:45 pm

    we should imbibe the act of paying tax like that of other developed country all over the world and our country will be great as that of america,canada and all of them all

  16. jahili 10th May 2018 at 4:01 pm

    19 million paying taxes and? what are you doing with the money? looting it as they come in? Let me remind you sir that you have get paid your salary from which you then can pay your taxes. A situation where several states are owing salaries for months on end, what do you expect the people to do?

    • Osin Abiodun 10th May 2018 at 4:31 pm

      Jahili, what is the way forward? what i discovered about we Nigerians is that, we are very perfect when it comes to criticism but always fail when we are confronted to propound solutions. The Vice President have taken a bold step to be transparent to Nigerians about the success recorded as far as tax is concern and should be commended. You are free to engage the government on how tax is been spent but you should be conscious that programmes such as national home grown school feeding programme (NHGSFP) is being sponsored by the federal government which require a lot of money. Government have to fund budget most especially on infrastructure, health, education, agriculture etc. It is advisable to make meaningful impact in nation building by identifying with the government rather than criticizing. Thanks

      • Zatmy 12th May 2018 at 7:15 pm

        FG spokesman

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