Monday, 16 October 2017

Responsible govt should spend tax revenue judiciously – Ex-Presdient Obasanjo


Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that every responsible citizen must pay tax, as it is a major source of revenue to drive the economy.

He however said if the people are faithful with the payment of tax, responsible government should spend the tax revenue judiciously.

Speaking at the public presentation of a book, A Review of Tax System In Nigeria written by Assistant Inspector General of Police, Tunde Ogunsakin, at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) Lagos on Saturday, Obasanjo, the chairman of the occasion, stressed that one of the major challenges of Nigeria is because it has not been able to determine the amount of tax revenue it loses annually.

His words: “This book is very readable. In a way, it is technical but more of a layman than technical. If one writes a book on taxation and I am able to understand, then anybody can understand it. According to the author, tax avoidance is legal but tax evasion is both criminal and civil. African Union reported that it loses $50billion per year from tax revenue. In Nigeria, we have not been able to determine how much we lose from tax revenue annually,” he said.

Ogunsakin, author of the book in his address said the event marks a significant milestone in the nation’s efforts aimed at paving way for a flourishing tax regime that will drive a formidable economic growth and development in Nigeria.

He said the decision to publish the book was borne out of his desire to evolve a literature that will be of intellectual value to tax authorities in the area of tax collection and enlightenment campaign as well as encourage Nigerian populace and institutions to pay tax.
“I am very inspired by the book and the launch to call attention to a global debate on alternative to oil as the world leading nations are inventing cheaper alternatives to oil as producing nations are undergoing retrogressive variables which are receding purchase and sales of oil in their various categories world-wide.

“Before my brief on the intervention of tax as alternative to oil in contemporary revenue drive in developing nations, you will first wonder what a policeman desires in an analogous terrain like taxation. I did not study business administration nor accounting but political science, history and law.”

Ogunsakin noted that he was opportune to have served as a member of the then Federal Government Panel on Education Tax set up by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to investigate and recover all unpaid Education Tax by companies registered in Nigeria, stressing that this fired his enthusiasm to research more in taxation.

“It is heartwarming to state that as a sub-committee chairman on operation of the then Federal Government Panel on Education Tax, I travelled widely within the country and gathered immense experience in the course of the Panel’s work. The enormous experience I garnered in the course of the panel’s activities greatly inspired me to publish this book,” he said.
Ogunsakin said as oil continues to dwindle, Nigeria leaders must harness the taxation potentials, maximizing the advantage of the nation’s huge population and the reduction of tax evasion.
He said by 2025 or 2030, oil might be obsolete as source of energy and revenue to nations, that only visionary nations will be able to cope or survive, stressing that this is a warning signal to Nigeria to explore taxation as alternative to oil.
“It is hoped that drawing great insights from the expositions in this book will invariably assist us in advancing the course of reducing tax malpractices in Nigeria through voluntary compliance with taxation,” he said.

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