• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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CITN, in PH, strategises on post-COVID tax environment

Tax

The national council of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) has risen from its national council meeting and retreat in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, with new strategies on how to cope with post-Covid-19 tax situation in Nigeria.

This is as the president, Gladys Olajumoke Simplice, calls on the Federal Government to declare a tax holiday as form of palliative to the Nigerian tax community.

At the four-day event held at Faarah Coffee Lounge in Port Harcourt, the council adopted the training theme – ‘CITN and the March Towards Strategic Redirection as a Recipe for Global Leadership in Professional Practice,’ handled by Michael Stevens Consulting.

The council members told newsmen that the dynamic and changing nature of the tax environment makes it necessary for members to re-strategise and also retrain the members to cope with the changes, especially in the task of training and certifying new members.

The president further told newsmen that taxpayers had been hard hit and must be rescued by the Federal Government to survive, bounce back, and continue to pay taxes. The government had earlier turned down calls for tax waivers in the Covid-19 pandemic era but said it could only consider extension of deadlines.

The Rivers State government led by Governor Nyesom Wike however announced far-reaching palliatives early in August 2020, including suspension of informal sector tax drive, extension of tax filing to December 2020, and 50 percent reduction in some others including capital gains. The business community hailed the declarations.

The CITN president, who joined in commending Governor Wike, told newsmen that Rivers State had held out hope and encouragement to taxpayers who she said clearly see their taxes in action. The state has awarded contracts for five flyovers and other link roads worth N54 billion in the state capital so far.

Simplice said giving palliatives and showing clear evidence of tax at work as Rivers did would spur the citizens and taxpayers into adopting voluntary tax compliance and make taxpaying a happy experience.

“Each state is allowed to give palliatives to its tax paying community. So, you look at your local tax climate and decide what to give the taxpayers at this time. You need to assess the low income group and know what to do for them,” she stated.

As professionals who look at books of companies, the institute says most Nigerian companies cannot afford even to pay for tax advice, she said many countries were so far giving different palliatives, adding that the taxpayer needed to survive and resume paying taxes.

The CITN has looked at suggestions to table before the Federal Government after the Port Harcourt meeting, she said, saying the areas have already been pencilled down for discussion.

Simplice, who is also the president of the West African Union of Tax Institute, said the CITN was behind 90 percent of tax and finance laws being rolled out in Nigeria including the 2019 Finance Act.

The Covid-19 issues have necessitated amendment of the Finance Act and suggestions would be tabled from the Port Harcourt meeting, she said, adding that their members are right now offering free tax advice because firms can hardly afford payment.

In her contribution, a council member, Justina Okoro, said the retreat was to first look at the journey so far as an institute and what they needed to do next to impact positively on Nigeria and the economy.

“This retreat is to look at strategies and understand the meaning of strategy as a cause of action that is deliberately and strategically deployed to achieve a particular outcome. It is a focused cause of action in certain areas of policy.

“Our leaders need to be focused in their plans of action. You need to decide what you want to achieve at the end of your tenure so that at the end of it, the people are better for it. This is same with corporate organisations. They must not be distracted in what they set out to achieve. So, you must have a vision, a mission, and strategy to achieve them.

“CITN wants to be the foremost tax institute in Africa and the world, and so how to achieve this, say in 2030. Nigeria set certain targets for 2020; so, did we achieve them, and if not, is it late? The nation can always try again. It is to re-plan and refocus on how to achieve whatever that was intended,” Okoro said.