• en

Okonjo-Iweala Advocates For Balanced Taxation Policies In Nigeria To Avoid Undue Burden On Citizens

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has emphasised the necessity of Nigeria broadening its tax base while ensuring citizens perceive value for their contributions.

The Director General, World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, asked the federal government to streamline its taxes and levies, arguing that though higher taxes may not be bad, they should not constitute an undue burden on the people.

Okonjo-Iweala spoke in Abuja at the weekend at a gathering of Women in Leadership Nigeria, hosted by her, with the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, the co-founder of the Archewell Foundation.

She said, “All taxes and levies are to increase government revenue, it depends on where and how you levy it. But our tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio is quite low, it is about seven percent or so of GDP.

“We need to push it up, maybe this is why government is introducing some more taxes. But we have to be careful where the levies or the taxes are, so that they don’t constitute an undue burden to people.

“At the same time, we need to bear with government because the tax to GDP ratio is low and we need to work hard to lift it.

“I don’t want to comment on any specific level but would rather comment on the general, that trying to improve our tax administration and to improve our tax to GDP ratio is something we need to aim at doing.

“To do that we need to broaden the tax base, the base is presently narrow. The number of people that pay tax in the country are not really many. We need to find ways around this, but to do it we need to know that to tax people you have to offer them service.

“Otherwise, they would wonder why they are paying taxes. So, there is a whole lot of work that we need to do. The government needs to broaden the tax base but they need to be just thoughtful about which taxes and levies they put in.”

 Deji Elumoye, Chuks Okocha, Michael Olugbode, Emmanuel Addeh and Sunday Aborisade

Follow us on: