“The outbreak of Coronavirus has severely affected the world economy to the extent that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has warned that the Pandemic is far more than a health crisis: it is affecting societies and economies at their core. It further warned that without urgent socio-economic responses, global suffering will escalate, jeopardizing lives and livelihoods for years to come”, Simplice noted.
“At the local scene, the negative effects of the Pandemic are glaring including the inability of taxpayers to fulfill their tax obligations as and when due”, she added.
“No wonder, the Federal Government had initiated a number of proactive measures particularly, the recent approval of the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) by the Federal Executive Council.
Furthermore, tax authorities at the Federal and state levels have been responsive in handling this situation resulting in the initiation of measures towards mitigating the effects on taxpayers.
“These measures range from extending the period for filing tax returns, waivers of penalties, the extension of the period for due tax payments, tax waivers for small businesses and so on”, CITN president said.
She said that with these developments, “it is important as tax professionals that we should be abreast of daily developments in the tax terrain otherwise we would be on the disadvantaged side.”
“As professionals, we must be on top of current policies and developments in the profession to be able to enlighten our clients on reliefs available to them. This would assist them in reducing their exposures as going concerned while also ensuring that they are able to fulfill their tax obligations as and when due”, Simplice stated.
Timothy Olawale, Director-General of Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) who was the Special Guest of Honour, delivered the keynote address at the 42nd induction ceremony of CITN.
NECA urged that “taxes should be on what is owed or due and not for the Tax Authorities to collect more than is legal.”
“The responsibility to determine taxes due lies with Tax Practitioners and it is a function of knowledge, hence your training in the Institute. This also places a responsibility on the Institute on continuous training as new taxes emerge or are replaced by Government –example the Finance Act 2020, etc,” he stated.
“It is trite that taxation is an important strategy by the government in promoting economic growth and development of a nation. However, the economy of Nigeria has continued to lose a huge amount of revenue through the unwholesome practice of tax avoidance and tax evasion.
“It is on the backdrop of these challenges that the Government should examine the effect of taxation on economic growth in Nigeria. Specifically, the impact of Value Added Tax on economic growth in Nigeria as well as examine the effect of Petroleum Profit Tax on economic growth in Nigeria. It is not just in the collection of taxes but its utilisation to the benefit of the citizens and the nation at large”, NECA DG said.
“We submit that taxation is a significant determinant of economic growth in Nigeria. We, therefore, recommend that the government should enact policies so as to ensure adequate collections of taxation, after widening the tax-net. It is important for Government to embark on massive awareness and sensitization on the importance of taxation to the populace – this could be done through recognised Bodies like NECA, CITN, etc”, Olawale stated.