Stransact Chartered Accountants, a correspondent firm of the RSM network has charged the new governments both at the federal, and state levels to embrace a holistic tax reform approach to growing the country’s economy.
Eben Joels, general partner at Stransact speaking during a media briefing with a theme: “Reforming Nigeria’s Tax Environment for Economic Growth, Opportunities for the Government” said the new governments should strive to renew the hopes of Nigerians through a holistic tax reform.
“The private sector is the engine room that drives businesses, hence, government should concern itself with regulating and not doing business,” he said.
Joel reiterated that the incoming governments have a lot of reforms to do to get the country’s economy on the growing path once again.
He explained that widening the tax rate by ensuring that more of the rich people cum firms are held tax-accountable rather than increasing the tax rate will help the country achieve rapid economic growth.
“Tax bracket is the main foundation of an ideal tax reform. The best thing to do is to focus on getting the bracket, otherwise, it will have negative effects,” he said.
According to the finance expert, “Tax reforms should be made to eliminate unnecessary taxes. Nigeria is one of the countries with the highest income tax charges in the world. This makes it difficult for good businesses to operate.”
In addition, he said “The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) should make tax payment compliant easier. It should not erode the taxpayers’ rights under the law such tax pro-max.”
Joel emphasised that the automated end-to-end processing function of technological innovation in the taxing system of the country must be tailored to suit the law of the land just as is found in the FIRS pro-max.
He counselled the new government at the federal level not to use independent consultants in carrying out the duties of the FIRS, because it is a dangerous approach which is not healthy for corporate citizens.
“Don’t harass taxpayers with independent tax agents. It is a dangerous thing for a firm to open its books to just anybody in the name of a tax agent,” he noted.
Abayomi Salawu, a partner at Stransact also buttressed the views of Joels by saying that state governments should focus on developing their states to attract more business communities and wealthy individuals who will in turn pay taxes rather than strangling the residents with high and multiple taxes.
“States should focus on developing the quality of lives of the residents. Basic infrastructure is key to generating more revenues through taxes and not increasing the tax rate,” Salawu noted.
The partners called on Nigerians to begin to ask their leaders at various levels for accountability in service. They asked the incoming president and governors to set precedence by personally volunteering to relinquish their tax exceptions under the law.
According to the partners, “Time has come when Nigeria’s solution to its economic growth should be homegrown. Genuine intention is key to finding solutions to the country’s problems.”