Some Finance and Economic Experts have called on the Federal Inland Revenue Service to be more transparent in the area of tax revenue generation and tax management.
The experts spoke at a workshop held on Saturday with theme “Enhancing Internally Generated Revenue through trust, accountability and engaged citizenship.”
Speaking at the event Professor Kenneth Amaeshi of the European University Institute/University of Edinburgh said there is need for more transparency and accountability by revenue generating agencies of government
He said, “There’s is tax paradox, compliance cannot serve without accountability, pay your tax before enquiring on how it’s used. Some person differs and say why should I pay for something that is not used or accounted for. Some people see it as economic duty while others see it as economic right.
“Surprisingly there’s is nothing in our tax form that makes it compulsory for the government to portray accountability on how the tax are utilized.
“FIRS said their duty is to generate enough tax, but once they generate these taxes and you ask them for accountability all they will say is our duty is tax collection, revenue collection, they have nothing to do with accountability on how the money is used.”
He urged the government to put in place mechanisms that would help strengthen its agencies.
Amaeshi said, “Accountability is the function of putting to account, but our institutions have in a way be unable to hold us to account, our institutions are unable to constrain or restrain us from things that are dangerous.
“Our institutions are weak, if our institution are weak then it rest in the puzzle, if the institutions are not trust worthy, then the question is in what extent can you win if the institutions are not trustworthy or accountable.
“If we want to enhance IGR power, then we must protect in all time, building our institutions, strengthening our institutions to make them work at all times.”
Mr Lawson George, a financial expert who spoke at the event said voluntary tax compliance will be higher if the tax revenue are used in a manner that will benefit the people.
“We have articulated the Nigerian case, and concluded that Nigeria is weak. I pay my tax for government to use as a source of revenue for societal development.
“Why should I pay my tax when individuals construct boreholes, good road that leads to their house and buy generator which is the sole duty of the government.
“I pay my tax because it’s my civic responsibility which is based on morality of an individual,” he added.
Other experts that spoke at the events stressed on the need to address trust issues relating to tax payment.