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Nigeria targets 15% tax-to-GDP ratio

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By Usman Oladimeji

Tax ratio to GDP has increased by 10% but not yet made public.

The Nigerian government’s ministry of finance announced plans to raise the country’s tax ratio to GDP from 8 percent to 15 percent by the year 2022. This was announced at the ongoing 25th annual tax conference of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) in Abuja by Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning Zainab Ahmed. She noted that the tax to GDP ratio does not account for several levies and taxes collected at the state and local levels.

Represented by Basheer Abdulkadir, Director of Tax policy, Technical Services Department, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab stated that the plan to boost the revenue to GDP ratio to 15 percent is part of the integrated national finance framework. She asserts that the results of an independent analysis have shown that the tax ratio to GDP has increased by 10 percent, although the data have not been made public as of yet.

FIRS collected more than 10 trillion Naira in taxes in 2022.

She further noted that the 7 percent figure, which has always been adjusted downward, only accounts for federal taxes and that all taxes, federal and local, must be included in the calculation when comparing taxes to GDP. Zainab asserted that no country can make significant growth without stable tax revenues, and thus it is very necessary to focus on measures to generate additional revenue for sustainable development in the country. According to her, the federal government had implemented numerous policy changes throughout time, including the yearly Finance Act, which is intended to boost the budgetary performance.

Zainab claims that non-oil revenue is growing as the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) generated more than 10 trillion Naira in taxes in 2022. She also issued a call to action to the tax community, asking them to propose ways to enhance tax contribution to the economy, particularly in light of the advent of new business models, while also noting that measures were being considered to expand the tax base to include enterprises in the informal economy.

Government’s income profile has been difficult to sustain.

In addition to encouraging growth and bringing in income, she argued that there is need to maintain and expand incentives. In his remarks, Clement Agba, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, said that the government’s income profile has been difficult to sustain for a number of reasons, least of which is the fact that the government’s financial resources are inadequate in comparison to its obligations. Agba, who was represented by his Special Assistant Sam Ekweme, emphasized the need for coordinated efforts to allocate government funds more efficiently.

He stressed the critical nature of boosting Nigeria’s tax collection efforts, as “the national budget is the bedrock of our national development,” and “the ability of the government to provide them depends on available revenue.” He spoke highly of the institute’s contributions to the country’s development in the areas of human capital, taxation, and economic expansion. Muhammad Nami, the chairman of Nigeria’s tax agency, FIRS, remarked that the country’s tax structure is disjointed, which has stunted the expansion of the revenue share of GDP.

Revenue can be increased by harmonization of tax administration.

Nami spoke through Muhammad Abubakar, Coordinating Director, Executive Chairman’s Group, arguing that tax harmonization is related to increased tax collection. In his view, revenues can be increased by the harmonization of tax administration systems and the improvement of tax compliance efficiency. The Secretary of the Joint Tax Board (JTB), Obomeghie Nana-Aisha, recently emphasized the importance of deliberating how to transform the country’s potentials and best position the country to take advantage of new chances. Furthermore, she emphasized the need to guarantee that immediate possibilities for sustainable and inclusive development are addressed.

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