By Ado Hassan, Sokoto
Sultan of Sokoto and President General, NSCIA, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar yesterday tasked the Joint Tax Board(JTB) and relevant organs in the country to work towards convincing Nigerians on the need to pay tax.
According to him” It is also the basis on which they can also challenge governments on what the tax collected were used for.”
Abubakar spoke in Sokoto when he received a delegation of the board on a courtesy call led by its Chairman, Chief Babatunde Fowler.
He said Nigerians need to be convinced and not confused about the importance of tax payments.
” You have to convince them especially the common man to realise the usefulness of tax to their lives.
” As professionals, you have to do the needful to avoid loop holes or leaking pockets”, he stressed.
He reverred monarch noted that diplomacy was necessary in the course of tax administration and collection processes.
He said most Nigerians have varied misconceptions and perceptions about tax collection and uses due to alleged dishonesty and insincerity labelled against officials.
” We have to be religiously upright with absolute fear of God overseeing and manging public trust. If the world had held the teachings of our religions topmost, we would not have been in the troubles we find ourselves today.
” Religion is all encompassing. It has link with general human survival, peaceful co-existence, development and morality among many other aspects of human endeavour”, he pointed out.
He said that the JTB should make it necessary for the rich to pay more.
Besides, the religious leader said the board should not fail to device commensurate penalty for tax evasion, adding that” make sure people pay the real tax as it applies and not what they wish.”
Abubakar also recalled that traditional rulers played significant role in tax collection from their subjects who complied without evasion, pointing out that” today things and global demands occasion by innovations and nmerous other factors have changed the operational system of tax collections.
” In Islam it is what we call the Zakkat’alms’ which is compulsary. You divide the net wealth into 40 and remove 1 share as Zakkat which is used to support the poor and the needy”, he explained.
Earlier, Board’s Chairman, Babatunde Fowler told the Sultan that they were in Sokoto for the 139th meeting of the organ established in 1961 as an umbrella body to harmonise and institute uniformity of income tax management across the country.
Fowler explained that government rely on tax revenue for its budget projections and plans, adding that” we are encouraging better collaboration not only to increase revenue but also discuss issues relevant to proper services through e-payment channels.
He said doing so, will enable the board to capture 40 million Nigerians who were yet to be in the tax net before March 2018.
He noted that traditional rulers and institutions were active tax collectors in the past even as he acknowledged that people were tax payment compliant” We are appealing to the Sultan to speak to traditional institutions to assist us in achieving compliance in tax collection.”