By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – The Vice Chancellor of Kaduna State University, (KASU) Prof. Muhammad Tanko, says Nigeria must strengthen its tax system to gain maximally from it.
He made the remarks in a presentation on; “The Nigerian Tax System and Administration” at a Guest Author Forum organised by the Department of History of the university in Kaduna.
The Vice Chancellor said government should continuously improve the nation’s tax system and administration, which presently is fraught with so many inadequacies.
“There is no consistent policy that guides the tax system, no cooperation among tax authorities and no segmentation of tax payers that will help in knowing the tax payers.
”When you don’t know your tax payers, there is no way you can effectively generate revenue”, he noted.
He however stated that the problems could be solved if government would imbibe the tax for service policy, where people see the services they paid for as tax.
Prof Tanko also mentioned that mobile or designated courts should be used to try tax defaulters, while an effective monitoring system should be adopted to track tax defaulters and utilisation.
He suggested the use of religious education to encourage tax compliance and for government to include the issue of tax in schools curriculum to create necessary awareness on the importance of tax.
In his remarks Executive Chairman of Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service, Mukhtar Ahmed said there are numerous challenges facing the tax system and the number one is the tax culture which is not good for the state and the country at large.
The culture according to him is that people don’t want to pay their taxes. He disclosed that governments in the past made people lazy because as an administration comes in it waive tax and that make people not pay taxes.
“This happened during the Second Republic where lots of taxes were abolished. This, I believe was due to luxury of oil so this has created lots of problems.
“So now is very difficult to bring people right back on track because today across the globe those countries that are really making it do not depend on natural resources but on taxes.
“Secondly, as people are beginning to understand this it was very difficult for the tax collectors to put back these monies to use.
“So when the people saw that the taxes paid is not put to use; and just like Prof Tanko mentioned in his book, tax for service, the people become reluctant to pay taxes. But when they see that their taxes are being put back to use they will cooperate” He explained