The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) with support from Oxfam Novib organized one day training on Tax Justice Advocacy as part of the Capacity for Research and Advocacy for Fair Taxation, CRAFT project in Nigeria. The training was to build the capacities of CSOs and media persons on tax justice issues to increase the number of voices advocating for fair taxation. The one-day training featured Messrs. Participants were drawn from stakeholders across the South-West which includes CSOs, Media and CBOs. There were 24 participants in attendance including representatives of the Chairman Oyo State Board of Internal Revenue. The sessions were participatory and after exhaustive deliberations on the issues, the following observations and recommendations were made:
- Taxes are necessary to fund development but it should be fair, progressive and just
- Tax administration in Nigeria is confronted by several challenges that result in injustice, inequality and corruption resulting in lack of essential services
- There is challenge of duplicity of roles amongst government agencies in the collection of tax particularly amongst tiers of government in Nigeria; resulting in high incidences of multiple taxation.
- Women in the informal sector are the worst victims of unfair tax practices in the South West Nigeria as a result of gaps that lead to extortion further entrenching poverty and inequalities.
- There is inadequate capacity amongst CSOs and the media to effectively engage various States of Internal Revenues institutions for efficient tax administration.
- There is low tax education among citizens and a challenge with clarity around what taxes to pay, where to pay and procedures behind Tax Payers Identification number.
- There is poor quality of data and data management and control in the States, affecting the tax base and making it difficult to collect maximum taxes from appropriate components of government.
- There is an alarming trend in states in the South West granting tax incentives to attract foreign investment at the expense of revenue needed for development.
- States governments should incorporate fairness and progressiveness in their tax administration and not make it strictly for revenue.
- Government should close the gaps in tax administration and make it citizens’ friendly to encourage voluntary compliance tax is a compulsory
- The Joint Tax Board should expedite the process of harmonizing taxes across the federation and streamlining collection points to avoid multiple taxation and extortion by illegal collectors.
- CSOs should ensure inclusive gender mainstreaming in the advocacy for fair taxation in Nigeria to empower and mobilize women to act in defense
- Tax Justice Platform should deepen knowledge of CSOs, CBOs and FBOs in the South-west on the tax justice and administration in Nigeria particularly at the state and local levels.
- Citizens should cultivate the attitude of paying taxes so that they can be emboldened to demand for accountability from duty bearers for service delivery and good governance
- Board of Internal Revenue across the south-west should develop effective data bank to ensure that appropriate taxes are paid by all tax payers.
- Governments at all levels should stop the arbitrary use of tax incentives as research has showed that it does not actually translate into increased foreign investment in any economy
Participants expressed their appreciation to CISLAC for embarking on the training and making copies of the CRAFT manual available to them. They also thanked Oxfam Nigeria for providing the support. CSOs and media fully demonstrated readiness to collaborating with all stakeholders on issues of fair taxation and sustain the engagement with the aim of promoting fairness in tax administration and move the region forward. The participants also committed to sharing the knowledge acquired by commencing with step down sessions within their organizations.
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre
Centre for Public Private Cooperation
Women Advocates Research & Document Centre