Muhammad Shehu, the Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), has said that less than 40 million Nigerians are currently included in the tax system and are paying taxes.
According to him, Nigerians need to start contributing their taxes to boost government revenue and improve public service delivery.
He made this disclosure while featuring in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday.
According to him, the number of Nigerians within the tax bracket is too small compared to her population.
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- “That is too low for a country that has more than 200 million populations,” he stated.
Speaking further, he encouraged that more Nigerians should be enrolled into the tax bracket to ensure a boost in the economy.
- “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 utilized for better services and infrastructure so that every Nigerian can benefit”.
Tinubu’s Tax Reform Committee
Continuing, he lauded President Bola Tinubu’s recent move to create a Tax Reform Committee, expressing support for both the decision and its underlying concept.
He guaranteed that the committee would put forth extensive efforts to encompass members of the informal economy within the tax system.
- “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 utilized for those services. People should learn to pay their 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.
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In response to recent criticism from Nigerians of allegations about a 114 per cent rise in political office holders’ salary suggested by the commission, during what they described as severe economic challenges in the country.
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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,
- “From 2008 to date, there has not been a single review,” he said.