By Abubakar Jimoh
As part of its efforts to promote justice, equity and fairness in the nation’s tax regime, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) with support from Transparency International yesterday organized a stakeholder capacity building forum on multiple taxations for Nyanya market women in Abuja.
While speaking at the event, the Executive Director of CISLAC, Mr. Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani) represented by Programme Officer of CISLAC, Chioma Blessing Kanu, said: “It is interested to know that women constitute about 60% of farming population in Nigeria, mostly small scale and a majority in wholesale and retail trade. Women are taxed at National, State and Local Government levels on their goods, such taxes as custom tariff, port developer, net vat corporate income, ECOWAS levy, sharp duties, plus 45 other taxes depending on the type of business are levied on women.
“Local market women are the worst hit by the era of multiple taxes and harassments from some unscrupulous characters who disguise as local government officers and extort whopping sums from them preying on the fact that they are illiterates.
He reiterated that “imposition of tax should promote resource re-allocation, social equity through wealth distribution and enhance economic growth and development while ensuring stability by correcting and controlling macro-economic variables which are vital to the developmental process of any country.
Rafsanjani recalled the efforts of Federal and State governments to improve upon the lives of the citizens. However, according to him, since market women are faced with serious cases of multiple taxes, “the time has finally come to interrogate ourselves to find out where are not getting it right and take corrective actions. It is in view of this that CISLAC in partnership with Transparency International seeks to advocate for proper actions as deemed fit by relevant stakeholders.”
Also, Dr. Michael Abu, university don and guest speaker at forum noted that “over the years, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has passed several legislation against multiple taxes, however, the dearth of implementation at grassroots has aggravated multiple taxations.”
“Several factors such as political associates of government, rising unemployment level among the youths and lack of uniform tax frameworks among the three tiers of government on tax regime have contributed to the multiple taxes in the country,” he added.
Dr. Abu called for collaborative efforts among the Federal, State and Local tax authorities towards the provision of agreeable and uniform framework for tax collection; and prompt and democratic efforts by the Nyanya Market Association to dialogue with relevant tax authorities on appropriate period for tax/levy and tax base.