18 June 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos — Nigeria’s finance minister, Kemi Adeosun has disclosed that country suffers from low-level tax compliance which impacts government revenue earnings, adding that there is widespread malpractice among taxpayers and that this must be amended.
Adeosun who spoke at a parley put together by the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, in collaboration with Bloomberg disclosed that part of the plan was to recruit 7,500 community tax officers who will educate people about tax issues in communities.
The programme had the theme “Innovating Out of Nigeria’s recession: Exploring New Paradigms for Nigeria’s Economic Growth”.
“We have just 40 million active tax payers, out of an estimated 69.9 million and of that 40 million, a majority are PAYE, those who have their taxes deducted at source,” she said.
She disclosed that the government would begin monitoring companies that generate profits in Nigeria but shift taxes to countries of the jurisdiction where little or no tax is payable.
The minister noted that the practice was bad and unacceptable and that the government was poised to resist it.
“These practices harm Nigerians and it must stop.”
Mrs. Adeosun also disclosed that only 214 people in the country pay taxes in excess of N20 million, adding that all the people in this category are in Lagos.
Mrs. Adeosun, who said that Nigeria’s road has been rough, noted that the nation’s infrastructure deficit demands that the government seeks funds to fix them.
“Only 214 people in the entire nation pay taxes of more than 20 million Naira,” she said, adding that “all of which are in Lagos.”
Adeosun disclosed that the country’s tax to GDP ratio is poor and must be addressed.
For the nation to grow, Mrs. Adeosun said, it must address the inadequacies in the tax system.
“If we have to grow we must address these issues, and do so aggressively. And to do so we have to step on toes,” she added.