Ahmed: FG Focused on Promoting, Sustaining Efficient Tax Administration
By Ndubuisi Francis
The federal government has declared that it remains focused on promoting and sustaining an efficient tax administration, through the deployment of modern technology-driven processes and systems to boost collection from tax revenue.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, stated this in a goodwill message at the 23rd annual Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) conference in Abuja, themed ‘Taxation for Economic Recovery: A Necessity for Social Engagement and Economic Sustainability.’
A statement by her Special Adviser, Media and Communications, Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi, said she tasked the tax professionals to continue to work with other relevant stakeholders in ensuring effective and optimal participation in the global efforts spearheaded by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to transform the digital economy into a major revenue source for governments.
She noted that CITN comprises men and women with vast knowledge and experience in taxation which can be leveraged to achieve effective participation in the OECD-inclusive framework of the Task Force on Digital Economy (TFDE).
Citing the theme of the conference, she said the theme is appropriate and in tune with the 2021 approved budget theme, ‘Economic Recovery and Resilience’, which is aimed at accelerating economic recovery process, promoting social inclusion and strengthening the resilience of the economy.
“Nigeria’s low revenue generation has been a very serious challenge for past and present administration. The debate on leveraging domestic resource mobilisation for sustainable development has been a recurring issue at different fora including this one of today.
“As part of government’s efforts in strengthening the effectiveness of the Nigerian tax system, we have instituted various tax reforms through the annual Finance Bill. This has culminated into the Finance Act, 2019 and Finance Act, 2020.
“The Finance Act, 2020 is unique as it consists of over 80 changes to 14 different laws, including some tax law provisions, which are harped on ensuring a balance between broader macroeconomic strategies and specific measures to attract investment, grow the economy and create jobs,” the minister said.
According to her, it also encompasses immediate fiscal strategies for accelerated domestic revenue mobilisation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the domestic/global economic downturn.
The underlying principle of the tax policy reforms, she stressed, is to adopt counter-cyclical fiscal policies to simplify the tax system, provide fiscal relief to taxpayers and attract more taxpayers into the tax net.
Ahmed noted that ‘Project Lighthouse’ is her ministry’s follow-up to the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), which is a single source data analytic tool to support revenue agencies, tax authorities and other stakeholders to address the issue of current revenue challenges using tax.
She observed that the global tax landscape and architecture is dynamic and that the Nigerian tax system has to keep responding to the changes in the international tax space.
She also tasked the conference to continuously work in coming up with new innovations to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the tax system.
The minister assured her audience that government shall continue to ensure the improvement of the tax administration framework to optimise government revenue which is a major thrust of the current administration’s Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative (SRGI).