The Chairman of the Joint Tax Board (JTB), Muhammad Nami, says on Thursday, that the board is considering the National Identification Number (NIN) for Tax Initiative, to boost internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the country.
Nami who is also the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) said at the opening of the 147th meeting of the JTB in Kaduna, that the move would ensure synergy in the tax administration system.
He said the NIN database would provide the most robust, accurate and comprehensive database of current, potential, and future taxpayers in the country.
“We must, therefore, think of how best to explore this unique opportunity to ramp up taxpayer registration, validation of taxpayer identification, collection of data, profiling and analysing data collected.
“This will ensure that every citizen and other taxable persons in the country are compelled to declare and pay their taxes honestly as provided for under Section 24 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.`
“By linking NIN to all key economic activities of individuals and businesses, this initiative will provide reliable, easy to access information to determine the correctness of the information declared for tax purposes by all taxpayers.
“It is also expected to streamline various regulatory processes for businesses and individuals leading to increased administrative efficiency and ease of doing business,” he said.
Nami stressed that the initiative, if properly implemented, was capable of expanding Nigeria’s tax net to cover at least 90 percent of all eligible taxable persons against the estimated less than 30 percent captured so far.
He added that the initiative also has the prospect of increasing the country’s tax contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio from the current six percent to about 20 percent over the next five years.
The chairman said that as custodian of the Nigerian tax system, tax administrators have the responsibility of implementing all tax policies and laws and ensuring equity and optimal benefit to the nation.
Nami said that tax administrators were faced with the daunting challenge of finding innovative and effective ways of preventing, detecting and remediating tax evasion, illicit financial flows and loopholes that facilitate aggressive tax avoidance.
To deliver the mandate of revenue generation, he said tax administrators must be innovative in employing the use of technology and tax intelligence to counter the alarming trend of tax evasion.
“It has been demonstrated worldwide that access to data and intelligence to determine accuracy of taxpayer information is key towards driving voluntary compliance and minimizing tax evasion.
“So far, no country has been able to achieve a high level of tax compliance without having a robust system of personal identification.”
Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, said only those in the formal sector pay tax, while many rich and high-profile Nigerians do not.
El-Rufai said this could change if NIN would be linked with the banking and tax systems to expose bank account details of high-profile citizens.
He said the future of Nigeria would no longer depend on oil, but on every citizen of the country if everyone would see the need to pay tax.
The governor advised the JTB to deepen the deployment of technology to generate and collect tax and consider linking NIN to bank accounts of citizens.
“You should also consider moving away from income tax to consumption tax, because with consumption tax, it will be difficult to avoid paying tax except if people will stop spending,” the governor said.
On the achievement of his administration in internally generated revenue (IGR), El-rufai said the State government realized more than N50 billion in 2020 in spite of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Executive Chairman, Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service (KADIRS), Dr Zaid Abubakar said the state revenue collection has grown from N12 billion in 2015 to N44.9 billion in 2019, and to more than N50billion in 2020.
The feat, he said, has placed Kaduna state as the 6th state with the highest IGR among the sub-nationals in the country.
Abubakar said this was in spite of the tax palliative granted by the state to soften the burden of the nationwide lockdown.
“This year (2021), we have an ambitious target of collecting about N60 billion.
“We intend to achieve this target through careful planning, leveraging technology, tax-payer engagement, inter-ministries, department and agencies collaboration and pragmatic implementation of our medium-term revenue collection strategy,” he said.
The executive chairman explained that the JTB was a statutory body of tax administrators established by the Personal Income Tax Act 2011 as amended.
He said the goal was to promote uniformity in the application of the Personal Income Tax Act, and the incidences of tax on individuals across the federation.
Abubakar said the theme of the meeting, “Strategic Initiative for Sustainable Revenue Generation: Prospect, Challenges and Next Steps” was carefully chosen to sustain revenue generation at the national and sub-national levels.
The key areas for discussion at the meeting included the development of roadmap for seamless implementation of revenue generation plans among states and an action plan for automation and collaboration among various stakeholders.
“This includes developing strategies to combat illicit financial flows, strategies and action plans for Revenue-based Digital Service Taxes (DTSS) and provision of assistance for capacity building and tax-payers education,” he said. (NAN)