CSO’s Caution Nigeria Government Against VAT Increase

The Tax Justice and Governance Platform, (TJGP) Nigeria , a group of civil society organizations has called on the federal government to pay serious attention to widening the tax net rather than increasing the rate which would place more burden and increase the poverty level of majority of Nigerians.

In a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja the groups are advocating for the promotion of a progressive, fair and transparent system in which domestic resources are effectively mobilized through an efficient tax system.

And also utilized for people oriented development and provision of essential services that benefit majority of citizens, including the poor and disadvantaged groups.

“We have followed with keen interest, the trend around the Federal Government’s effort to improve revenue mobilization to fund development in Nigeria.”

‘There has been diverse’ views from different interest parties on which measures will be more strategic and sustainable. Finally, the minister of finance announced an increase in the VAT rate at the last Federal executive council held on the 11th of September 2019 after several denials of the possibility of an increase in VAT in Nigeria.”

We want to state our position for advocacy and campaign which is that Government designs and implements policies and programmes that enhances the welfare of the poor and protects disadvantaged groups that constitute much of the Nigerian population and address issues of inequality.

As has been demanded by many Nigerians and groups, we call on the federal government pay serious attention to widening the tax net rather than increasing the rate which will only place more burden on the few that complies already and still exempt the majority that do not pay taxes.

we welcome the VAIDS as opportunity to increase the tax net, though it has not yielded the optimum result expected. There are still myriads of companies and other taxable entities in Nigeria who are not in the tax net and still not convicted or punished in any way.

Given the implication of increasing the VAT, we would want the FG to consider following issue areas;

The Platform therefore calls on the federal government to provide additional information and details on the proposed measures for the purposes of public debate and multi-stakeholder input.

We expect empirical projections and evidence based expected outputs that indicate that the tax yield from some of the measures would outweigh any disadvantage and potential negative impact and that the majority of Nigerians will be the ultimate beneficiaries of the proposed measures. These includes

We call on the Federal Ministry of Finance to ensure that its increase in the revenue targets to the Federal Inland Revenue Services is based on empirical computations and is not emotional or arbitrary projections, neither should it hinge on speculation and should ensure that the FIRS is not compelled to impose hardships on hapless Nigerians in a bid to generate taxes to meet unrealistic targets.

The Platform calls on the Federal Government to improve market information and transparency by implementing the National Tax Policy, promoting the commitment to progressive taxation and taking measures to improve financial transparency while cooperating with regional and international bodies to address the issues of illicit financial flows.

The Platform hopes that the proposed measures can be effectively implemented to solve the revenue deficit in the country rather than an increase in rate which will only exacerbate poverty and hunger on the “ultimate burden bearer” – the poor and vulnerable.

We call on the federal government to concentrate more efforts at ensuring proper collection of appropriate tax from multinationals and large corporations which have continued to benefit from undeserved tax incentives and had for years engaged in tax avoidance practices.

We call on government and relevant institutions to develop strategies to curb the tax avoidance practices of big businesses in the country and pay attention to challenges of illicit financial flow that had continued to undermine the economy.

We call on all Nigerians, especially civil society, the media, labour and citizens working in the development sector and public finance management to continue to raise their voices against measures and policies that will further impoverish Nigerians and introduce new dimensions of inequality.


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