For Nigeria to achieve an effective tax system, the need for sustainable revenue mobilisation is paramount.
Experts argue that there cannot be an effective tax system if the social contract is observed in the breach by either party.
They said this is the case with developing nations of the world, Nigeria inclusive.
At the 3rd Annual International Academic Conference organised by the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) in collaboration with Igbinedion University, Okada, themed “Taxation, Social Contract, and Economic Development”, President and Chairman of Council, CITN, Gladys Simplice, said no nation could achieve development in the absence of adequate revenue to fund its programmes and projects.
On the citizen’s part, she said the level of tax compliance was so low that revenues from taxation cannot fund development projects.
She quoted data from the Joint Tax Board (JTB), which pegged Nigeria’s population in the tax net to 13 per cent.
According to her, this is not encouraging for any nation that desires to achieve development in the foreseeable future.
She suggested that Nigeria could ramp up the number of active taxpayers across all sectors to stop recurring budget deficits and the tendency to borrow to fund the budget will be adequately addressed.
On what is expected from governance, she said: “There is a glaring trust deficit between the citizens and the government. They do not trust that the government would channel tax revenues for its intended purpose. The reason for this is not far-fetched. We have seen a consistent failure by successive governments in transparently accounting for revenues and executing programmes and projects that impact the standard of living of the people. Therefore, both players in the social contract must play their part for our country to achieve economic development.”
She reiterated CITN’s support for promoting discourse at conferences towards harnessing their potential for national development.
She added that the conference would generate insightful and robust ideas that would be beneficial to the government at all levels, particularly in tax administration, revenue generation, and proposed fiscal policy initiatives.
In his presentation on “Research Philosophy and Implications for Taxation Research”, Prof. Suleiman Aruwa of Nasarawa State University stated that taxation researchers must have to understand the philosophical grounding of research undertakings for it to have economic significance.
He maintained that emphasis on the statistical significance of research results has minute usefulness in the development of taxation education, research, and practice given its behavioural orientation.
Chairman, CITN Annual International Academic Conference Organising Committee Chairman for the conference, Prof. Kabiru Dandago Isa said the conference was one of the initiatives of the Institute designed to give adequate opportunities to members and non-members, especially those in the academic, to excel in the area of research and publication as they make reasonable contributions to knowledge in the field of taxation and other related disciplines.