The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has urged the government at all levels to ensure that citizens feel the impact of the collected tax in their areas of responsibility.
The Executive Chairman of FIRS, Mohammad Nami, gave advice at the 7th IGR Learning Event organized by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) in Abuja.
Nami stated that taxation remained the most veritable tool in addressing the imbalance between the “haves” and the “have nots” in society.
He said that the use of taxation was important in balancing the social-economic standing of citizens.
The executive chairman said that beyond that, the tax was the contribution members of the society make for their leaders to provide them with social amenities in appropriate quantity and quality.
According to him, tax is the price paid in anticipation of decent living conditions, adding that tax-compliant citizens can legitimately expect their leaders to provide them with necessary amenities for a ‘good life.
Mr Nami said that section 16 (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) provides that “the state shall within the context of the ideals and objectives for which provisions are made in this Constitution, control the national economy in such manner as to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality of status and opportunity.”
In his remarks, NGF Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said that state governments recorded marginal growth in the IGR between 2016 and 2019, but recorded a 3.4 percent decline in 2020.
The Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Mohammed Sambo, described taxation and insurance as key tools in attaining Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
He said that one major challenge across the world in efforts to attain UHC was how to extend effective coverage to informal sector populations.
Reporting by Nehemiah Anini, Editing by Tola Oguneye