The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Finance, has said it would engage the Joint Tax Board (JTB) to address multiple taxation in the country.
This was made known by Basheer Abdulkadir, director of tax policy, Federal Ministry of Finance, budget and national planning, technical services department, during an interview session with journalists at the ongoing 25th annual conference of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) in Abuja.
He represented Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning.
“The issue of multiple taxation is a critical one. And like I said, we want to have the JTB because you know we have these approved levies and taxes for collection, which was approved by the then minister of finance and coordinating minister of the economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, but I think there was a court judgement that suspended that so we have to go back to the drawing board.
“We have to engage like I said, with the joint tax board, so that we agree on the taxes that are supposed to be collected by the three tiers of government as against just allowing the sub national level, collect taxes that are already embedded in federal taxation, so that we address the issues of multiple taxation, he said.
In June 2020, the Federal High Court in Lagos nullified an amendment to the Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act 2004, said to have been made in May 2015 by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Abdulkadir said taxation is a tool for sustainable economic development, a tool for revenue generation and in line with the integrated national financing framework objectives in mobilising domestic tax revenue for economic and developmental projects in the country.
“We have started by having certain reforms, fiscal reforms in the Nigerian tax space, and this is what we need. As you know, prior to 2016, we did not have a tax policy in the country. So we revised the national tax policy and in line with the revised national tax policy. We have had the annual Finance Act to support the annual budgets and this reforms in the fiscal space, which we need to do on a continuous basis for sustainable economic development, and the ministry of finance is key in this and the ministry of Finance, as you can see has demonstrated its support towards this and we will continue to do this,” he said.
The Federal Government of Nigeria had at the end of April 2023 introduced new Fiscal Policy Measures (FPM) for 2023 via a Circular dated April 20, 2023 signed by Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning.
In the policy measure, additional excise taxes ranging from 20 percent to 100 percent on previously approved rates for alcoholic beverages, tobacco, wines and spirits have been introduced effective from June 1, 2023.
The tax is applicable on mobile telephone services (GSM), fixed telephone and internet services, both post-paid and prepaid at the rate of 5 percent.
The Organised Private Sector of Nigeria comprising the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, the Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industries, and the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises had rejected the recently announced increase in excise tax.
Responding to a question on how the government can get the people to embrace the tax policy measures, Abdulkadir said, taxation is not only within the federal government and it is not an exclusive list.
“You have it on the concurrent list, where you have the personal income tax, which the states administer. So we will get the states to key into this using the joint tax board. Because all the states internal revenue services are part of the joint tax board, and we would also require sensitisation of the populace. This is key. Like I said, we had a revised national tax policy, but till date, that policy has not really been circulated. We have not had the usual sensitization within the six geopolitical zones. So this is what we are intending to do with the support of the United Nations Development Program tax for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he said.