Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has urged African tax administrators to develop more robust tax administration systems.
Osinbajo spoke when he received a delegation of the African Tax Administration, ATAF, Forum, led by its chairman, Mr. Gershem Pasi, at the Presidential Villa.
According to the vice president, taxation plays a critical role in defining government accountability and directs the society in a positive direction.
Osinbajo also commended the existence of such a forum.
“People don’t pay taxes, it also means they do not hold the leadership accountable.’’
He added that when people don’t pay taxes “they don’t often feel a sense of entitlement to the resources and corruption is allowed.”
Prof. Osinbajo explained that the business of taxation is a compact between the government and the people.
He observed that countries that export commodities and are involved in the extractive industries, such as Nigeria, had focused only on the revenues from such sources and had not benefitted from taxation.
Osinbajo stated that people should be made to appreciate that government will do what it is supposed to do by providing services and creating an enabling environment.
“Very often you hear people say ‘we don’t pay taxes because we don’t see the services,’’ but “If government takes its responsibilities seriously it is easier for people to pay taxes,” Osinbajo explained.
Earlier, Pasi had told the vice president that the group just concluded a workshop in Nigeria and thanked the government for its role in the formation of the forum and in hosting the workshop.
He said that among the other activities of the forum was addressing the problem of illicit financial outflows from the continent, especially after the African Union report on the matter.
Pasi is the Commissioner General of Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, ZIMRA.
Chief executives of national revenue agencies and tax policy makers from 28 African countries established ATAF in 2009 as a platform for the promotion of cooperation among African tax administrators and other relevant stakeholders.
Several other chief executives of national revenue agencies accompanied Pasi across Africa, including Mr. Babatunde Fowler, the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Services. NAN

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