From Ibrahim Goronyo, Sokoto:
The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, has said that Nigerians would happily pay taxes if they know their money would be used for viable projects.
“We have to convince them not to confuse them. If people know the tax they pay will be judiciously used for the benefit of the common man., they will pay happily,” he reiterated.He stated this while receiving members of the Joint Tax Board led by the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr Tunde Fowler who paid him a courtesy visit on Monday.
The members are in Sokoto for their 139th meeting themed “Implementation of the e-payment channels for remittance of taxes and blockage of leakages to enhance revenue generation.”
The monarch recalled that in the past, people pay taxes to their Emirs happily because they know their money would be used for their benefit.
“So we need to bring back those golden days by convincing people that there is not going to be any loopholes and their money will not be used for self enrichment,” he added
He however recommended for diplomatic approach in collecting tax and stiff penalty for tax evaders, especially the rich.
Sultan Sa’ad further advised Nigerians to be honest in their dealings, adding that if they could hold tight to their religious teachings there would not be any problem in the country.
Earlier, Mr. Fowler said 40 million Nigerians were not paying tax but things would improve as they had taken many measures that would make 75 percent of them start paying by march next year.
He said that issues relating to funding and improved operations of tax authorities, collaboration between tax authorities among others would be discussed at the meeting. Meanwhile, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal while declaring open the meeting said the Join Tax Board has a greater role to play in raising the much needed revenue to finance states’ budgets.