The Sultan of Sokoto, His Royal Eminence Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, yesterday charged the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and States’ Internal Revenue Services authorities to intensify their tax education campaigns in order to bring more taxpayers into the tax net.
Giving the advice when a delegation of the Joint Tax Board (JTB) led its Chairman, Mr. Babatunde Fowler, paid him a courtesy call in his palace in Sokoto, the monarch urged the Board to go all out and convince taxpayers on the need for their tax compliance, especially the assurance that tax collections would be used judiciously for the benefit of all.
Sultan Abubakar pointed out that many Nigerians seemed to be avoiding tax due to the belief that the tax revenue would not be used judiciously.
He said: “Why do people frown when they see tax collectors? How can we ensure that when people pay tax it will be used judiciously? The Joint Tax Board must convince people that tax paid will be used judiciously. These are some of the issues you have to discuss during your meeting so that you will be a stronger body.”
The traditional ruler recalled that before now, Emirs used to go round towns and villages to conduct tax assessment and people pay voluntarily, noting that this has changed as taxpayers’ confidence in the tax system continues to wane by the day.
However, the monarch advised Nigerians and other taxpayers to learn from the scriptures by imbibing the culture of honesty and transparency in all their dealings.
According to him, if there is the fear of God in the people and this is exhibited in all their activities the country will not be going through challenges before governments can take care of the needs of the citizenry.
In his response to the monarch’s comments, the Executive Chairman of the FIRS and Chairman of the JTB, while thanking him for his sincere advice, disclosed that the delegation was in Sokoto for the 139th meeting of the Board.
Fowler explained further that the mandate of the Board include, among others, the harmonization of the Personal Income Tax (PIT) and advise the tiers of government on sundry tax issues in the country with a view to optimizing the efficiency of the nation’s tax system for development.
He appealed to the monarch to revive the old practice whereby traditional rulers enlighten the people on the need for tax payment. This is even as he restated the JTB’s determination to continue to improve the nation’s tax system for efficiency and improved revenue generation through tax sources.