The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr. Babatunde Fowler, has said an effective tax law is vital for the mobilisation of tax revenue.
Fowler stated this while delivering a lecture at the Annual Tax Conference of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, Ghana, where he was also given an award as an honorary fellow of the CITG for his contributions to the tax institute.
A statement from the FIRS on Sunday stated that Fowler also called for collaboration among stakeholders in the tax system to simplify the tax laws as well as discourage evasion of tax.
He said, “When you ask people to pay tax, they ask you ‘why?’ But when you tell them that a tax of N5,000 is enough to save a child from dying from malaria, their attitude about tax begins to change gradually.
“As a tax administrator, you have to become a teacher to save the life of a child. When you convince a taxpayer that the tax he/she pays could save the life of a child who has malaria from death, you could begin to touch the taxpayer’s heart.
“One issue that is clear is that there can be no successful revenue mobilisation without a sound tax law regime as a platform for implementing the strategy. Strategies, which are implemented without a sound legal footing, usually fail or do not stand the test of time.”
The FIRS boss said that in 2015, South Africa generated $57bn in revenue while Nigeria, with its oil wealth and population of over 140 million people and about 60 million taxable citizens, was able to generate $27bn.
“It can be argued that the extent to which an economy is able to grow sustainably and develop depends to, a large extent, on its ability to generate tax revenue to finance its expenditure and the efficiency of its tax system,” he added.
The President, Chartered Institute of Taxation Ghana, Mr. Ayi Aryeetey, while presenting the award to Fowler, commended his leadership qualities in repositioning Nigeria’s tax system.