November 29, 2023

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has advised African governments to provide value for taxpayers’ money.

This, the tax authority argued, would improve revenue collection on the continent.

Its Executive Chairman Muhammad Nami, in a statement, gave the advice at the opening ceremony of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) 7th general assembly, held in Lagos.

The statement, which was endorsed by his Special Assistant on Media and Communication, Johannes Wojuola, explained that Nami said it was important for African tax administrators to mobilise and speak with one voice as a regional bloc on global tax issues for their collective interests.

“The fiscal social contract which hinges on the willingness of the citizens to pay tax in return for the provision of public service, is a clarion call on the government at all levels in Africa to rethink governance.

“In my view, if we must transform the tax system and enhance revenue collection in Africa, there is a need for the governance at all levels to engender public confidence and trust in government by providing value for taxpayers’ money,” Nami was quoted as having said during the occasion that had: ‘Rethinking Revenue Strategies: the Uuman Face of Taxation’ as theme.

The chief tax administrator added that governments should reconsider how projects are reported in the public space, with such reports communicating to convey the idea that taxpayers’ money is used to fund infrastructure projects.

Also speaking, Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said there was the need to give taxation a human face by implementing projects with taxpayers’ monies that impact the lives of the citizens.

Represented by the Executive Chairman, Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), Ayodele Subair, Mr Governor said: “There is no development without funding. We have amongst others, embarked on major transformational infrastructure projects cutting across transport, health, education, agriculture, technology amongst others.

“These major infrastructural interventions are designed to improve the quality of life of our citizens and re-engineer economic growth and development trajectory with improved productivity of our citizenry, which invariably improves our tax generating abilities.

“In a bid to save the human face of taxation, communication and feedback from the taxpayer is of paramount importance.”

Also speaking at the event, Executive Secretary, African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), Logan Wort, said a critical component of rethinking domestic revenue mobilisation is to ensure that the government has an impact on the lives of citizens.

He said: “While we consider strategies or frameworks within which to enhance domestic resource mobilisation on the continent, we must always put into perspective its primary objective—being the impact on people’s lives as reflected by ATAF’s mandate in the new decade which is to serve the higher purpose of enabling and assisting African governments to mobilise their own domestic resources through taxation in order to build states that foster economic growth and social development in the interest and wellbeing of all their citizens. This mandate, especially the latter part, is one we all share in various capacities across our jurisdictions, and one that must drive our domestic resource mobilisation objectives.”

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