- says House’ll engage Finance Minister on tax matters this week
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara has expressed concern over tax evasion by individuals and organisations in Nigeria.
Dogara made the expression when he received the president of Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, CITN, Dr Teju Somorin, in his office recently.
In a press statement issued by his spokesman, Turaki Hassan, Dogara said he found it difficult to understand why an individual could sell a property worth billions of naira without paying tax.
The speaker also wondered if the problem could be as a result of lack of enabling laws or legal framework.
“To be candid, we are worried on this tax issue. For instance, in Abuja an individual can sell a property of up to a billion naira and he will not pay a dime as tax.
“However, there are so many Nigerians that are paying taxes. So what is it that we can actually do as a country? What is the problem? Is it absence of an enabling legal framework?
“Is it that we have a robust framework but the problem is lack of implementation? What is the challenge? How can we resolve it?
“That is the biggest problem and so what do we do to ensure that all citizens that are supposed to pay tax actually pay tax?” Dogara inquired.
The speaker revealed that this week, the House would engage the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, on issues relating to diversification of the economy and taxation in continuation of its sectoral debate.
He also expressed concern over the overreliance on oil for revenue to the detriment of other sectors, adding that he sincerely believed that they could survive from tax even if revenue from oil dries up.
The speaker noted that for democracy to be sustainable, citizens must live up to their responsibilities part of which was payment of tax so that they would hold their leaders accountable.
Dogara further assured CITN that the House would do all it could to provide legislative frameworks that would assist in improving tax collection in the country.
He commended the association for its previous contributions in the legislative activities of the House through public hearings and urged them not to relent in doing so.
Speaking earlier, the president of CITN, Somorin called for another round of tax reform, establishment of taxation committee in the House to deal with tax matters.
Somorin, who is also the president of West African Union of Tax Institute, urged government to abolish earmarked taxes such as education tax, avoid too many taxes, and implement the National Tax Po