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FIRS failure to deepen tax net fuelled new Finance Law—NECA

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Endless reactions have continued to trail Monday’s presidential assent to the passed Finance Bill as experts continue to throw up issues arising from the new tax reform law.

Already, the Director-General, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Mr Timothy Olawale had cautioned the Federal Government against seeing the private sector as a cash cow, in its drive to raise revenue.

However, in his template for proposing a way out, he opined that what needed to be done by the government was an aggressive taxpayer enlightenment and expansion of the tax net.

According to him, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) failed in its duties to deepen the nation’s tax net due to poor taxpayer enlightenment and organisation of mainly elitist conferences instead of door-to-door grassroots awareness creation that would have been the game changer in amassing more Nigerians into the still yawning tax net.

Olawale averred that such sustained awareness programmes is carried out over the years would have brought in more citizens both people and corporate in to the tax net which is still less than 40 per cent as at today.

Continuing, he called for elimination tax consultants to block leakages as a large chunk of the Internally Generated Revenue realised did not find its way into government coffers.

Earlier, he noted that reforming domestic tax laws to align with global best practices, introducing tax incentives for investments in infrastructure and capital markets, and supporting Micro, Small and Medium-sized businesses, in line with our Ease of Doing Business Reforms, were positives of the new Act.

He further called on Nigerians to comply with the new Law which had amended the Petroleum Profit Tax Act, Customs and Excise Tariff Act, Company Income Tax Act, Personal Income Tax Act, Value Added Tax, Stamp Duties Act and the Capital Gains Tax.

On the new VAT regime, Olawale cautioned that the common man would definitely be at the receiving end of the increase in VAT as businesses would still have ways of naturally passing the cost to the customers, whose purchasing power was already at the lowest ebb.

In his final submission, he warned the Federal Government to be mindful of its promise of eliminating 10m Nigerians out of poverty to avoid sinking more than same figure into deeper poverty after all.

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