UMUAHIA – Participants at a one-day training on “Tax Justice and Advocacy”, on Friday urged government to enact legislation that would streamline tax payment and administration in Nigeria.
They argued that if taxes were streamlined, the excesses of security agents and thugs in tax collection would be checked.
The participants’ consensus was fallout of a workshop organised by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) with the support of OXFAM Novib in Umuahia.
Mr Celestine Odo, a participant, said there was need for only accredited government officials to collect revenues for government, adding that the use of security operatives and thugs to harass people was wrong.
“In most Nigeria cities, there are issues of security agents, thugs and illegal agents harassing the people here and there all in the name of tax collection,’’ he said.
Another contributor, Mr Ibiam Okoro, said that in Ebonyi residents were faced with multiple taxation issue and extortion by fake revenue agents.
Others, who gave accounts of the tax situation in Imo, Anambra, Abia and Enugu said that market traders and tricycle operators were bearing the brunt of heavy taxation in the area.
Earlier in an opening address, Mr Auwal Musa, the Executive Director, CISLAC said the event was organised to sensitise stakeholders on the need for responsive tax payment as well monitor the usage of tax by government.
Musa, who spoke through Kolawole Banwo, an official of CISLAC said that there was a paradigm shift globally on the mode of taxation between the rich and poor.
He urged Nigeria government to follow the international trend in taxation as part of the ongoing economic reforms.
“The world over, people are taxed based on the level of benefit they derive from the society. The rich are heavily taxed while the poor are taxed based on their earnings,’’ he said.
Mr Adebayo Badejo, an official of OXFAM said there was the need for Nigerians to be fully enlightened on their taxation rights.
“Apart from the fact that it is your civic responsibility to pay tax to government, it is equally expected that we should demand explanations on how such monies are utilised to ensure efficient deployment of such resources,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the workshop was attended by civil society groups and other tax stakeholders from five South/Eastern states of Imo, Anambra, Ebonyi, Abia and Enugu. (NAN)