Due to dwindling oil revenues accruable to the Federal Government, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has charged state governments to maximise the limitless potentials inherent in order to generate alternative revenues.
This was contained in a statement issued by the FIRS Executive Chairman, Muhammad Nami, during the 7th IGR Peer Learning Event organized by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, in Abuja, on Wednesday.
He equally advocated for the establishment of tax committees in legislative assemblies across the country.
In his presentation, Nami said, “Your excellences, Nigeria, over the years, has been dependent on revenue from crude oil. This source of revenue is no longer sustainable as the market for fossil fuel continues to deplete due to complications arising from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the shift from fossil fuel to other cleaner sources of energy, rising cost of exploration, banditry and oil theft. In plain truth, the future of crude oil as a major revenue earner is very bleak.”
The FIRS Chief further queried the absence of tax committees in the state assemblies.
“Taxation remains the most veritable tool to address the imbalance between the ‘haves’ and the have ‘nots’ of the society,” Nami noted.
He said that the use of taxation was important in balancing the social-economic standing of citizens.
The executive chairman said that beyond that, tax was the contribution members of the society make for their leaders to provide them with social amenities in appropriate quantity and quality.
“The citizens should not just hear budget figures but must, within their immediate living quarters, feel, see and experience effects of tax revenue.
“Government at various tiers must, in view of the constitutional provisions, imbibe the culture of value-for-money or, put in proper perspective, value-for-tax-money,” he said.
According to him, tax is the price paid in anticipation of decent living conditions, adding that tax-compliant citizens can legitimately expect their leaders to provide them with necessary amenities for a ‘good life.
Nami said that section 16 (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) provides that “the state shall within the context of the ideals and objectives for which provisions are made in this Constitution, control the national economy in such manner as to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality of status and opportunity.”