The Managing Partner of Highnet Resources, Ms Vivian Ani, has charged government at all levels to focus more on job creation rather than imposing multiple taxation on the people, as the former is the surest means of increasing a nation’s revenue.
Ani declared this at the 6th Annual Lecture of the January 9th Collective (J9C), themed: “The Tax Debate; For Young Businesses to Grow, Established Firms to survive”, held on Thursday, January 9, 2020, at Lagos Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja.
The business consultant, who said Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) often find it difficult to cope with taxation, explained that VAT increment from 5 to 7.5 per cent – a whopping 50 per cent increase, is not good for SMEs.
Vivian posited that over 60% of Nigerian businesses are within the informal sector, adding that overtaxing these businesses could lead to their folding up.
A discussant, and founder of Proshare Group, Femi Awoyemi, while answering questions bordering on why people sometimes evade tax in Nigeria, said the government is not making tax-payment easy, and for that reason, many would look for safe havens by evading it.
Awoyemi, who described Nigeria’s style of taxation as ‘Tax Collection’, instead of ‘Tax Administration’, said revenue collection agencies in the Federal, State and Local Governments need to educate the people more on taxation.
In his contribution, the Chairman, Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), Ayo Subair, who was represented by the Assistant Director of LIRS, Igho Orienru, disclosed that ‘Fines, Penalties, Donations, and License fees’ are not taxes, and should not be misunderstood for taxes.
Subair explained that the Lagos State Government is working on different strategies, such as the introduction of Electronic-Tax (e-Tax) so as to make tax-paying easy for taxpayers.
Speaking on this year’s theme, J9C’s Publicity Secretary, Wale Ewedemi, explained that the issue of taxation as it relates to businesses in Nigeria needs constant engagement.
Ewedemi added that while it is a given that government needs to raise revenue through taxes in order to meet its obligations, there is a need to have a cordial conversation on how to balance the two, which is what the 2020 J9C Anniversary Lecture seeks to achieve.
Earlier in his keynote address, the Alara of Ilara Kingdom, HRM Oba Folarin Ogunsanwo, said that SMEs are integral to Nigerian’s economy, he, therefore, urged the Federal Government to provide tax incentives, as well as a conducive environment for them to thrive.
January 9th Collective (J9C) is an association of friends and professionals from diverse fields who came together in January 2012 against the background of the ‘Occupy Nigeria’ protest with the view to advancing common interests that will lead to national development.
This year’s lecture, which is the sixth in the series since 2013, is part of the association’s commitment to contribute to the national discourse on issues of national interest.