• Monday, July 15, 2024
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Less than 40 million Nigerians pay taxes— RMAFC boss

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Muhammad Shehu, Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission,
RMAFC has said that Nigerians must make an effort to pay their taxes in order to increase government revenue and enhance service delivery.

He noted that less than 40 million Nigerians are currently included in the tax system and are paying taxes.

“That is too low for a country that has more than 200 million populations,” he stated.

The RMAFC chairman also made a suggestion that the commission had created software to increase openness in revenue generating and sharing among the three levels of government.

He applauded President Bola Tinubu’s recent decision to establish a Tax Reform Committee and its concept.

He promised that the committee will make great efforts to bring members of the informal economy into the tax system.

“There is all this debate about the informal economy. What this tax reform committee will do is bring a lot of agencies together, including RMAFC. We are members of that committee. We have articulated our position, and we will communicate what we believe can add value to the discussion.

“At the end of it all, we will have a better society where more people are paying taxes and the money will be utilised for better services and infrastructure so that every Nigerian can benefit,” he said.

He encouraged the Nigeria Customs Service and the Federal Inland Revenue Service to work together to identify specific groups of Nigerians who avoid taxes.

“There are some taxes that the government is not getting from Nigerians. I believe the FIRS will look at all those things and then collaborate with the NCS for better efficiency.

“I think it is very important for every Nigerian to try and pay their taxes because it is from those monies that you get services.

“All the things that people like to tell you about clean environments, good roads, and functional infrastructure in other countries—it is the taxes that citizens pay that are utilised for those services.

“People should learn to pay electricity bills; they should pay their water bills; they should pay just like you pay for telephone recharge cards.

“The more you pay your taxes, the more money the government has to put into road and rail construction, better hospitals, pensions, social security, and a better plan to help the needy,” he said.

In response to recent criticism from Nigerians of allegations about a 114 percent rise in political office holders’ salary suggested by the commission, during what they described as severe economic challenges in the country.

Shehu said it was untrue what was said concerning the pay rise.
To determine and assess the wages of executive, legislative, and judicial authorities, he asserted, was RMAFC’s constitutional duty.

Their pay had last been reviewed in 2007, he said.

“From 2008 to date, there has not been a single review,”

He stated that in light of the current economic hardships being experienced by Nigerians, the commission would not even examine the rumoured rise at this time.

“We are Nigerians; we are not going to start talking about reviewing the salaries of political office holders now because of the challenges that the government is facing.

“We will do it when the climate is right, and then we will take it forward to the stakeholders for them to decide on what to do. I want to disabuse the minds of Nigerians. It is not true that people are getting jumbo salaries.

“The monthly salary of Mr President is less than N1.5m; that of a minister is not even up to N1m,” the RMAFC boss said.

Shehu explained that what people believed to be the extravagant salaries of legislators were actually statutory office operating expenses, which should typically be handled centrally by the National Assembly Service Commission.