Network advocates for development levy, tax for services to ensure money goes back to the community
By: Femi Mustapha
The Tax Justice Network (TJN) has expressed its commitment to advocating for development levies and taxes for service to ensure that a specific amount of money goes back to the community. The coordinator of TJN in Kaduna, Mr. Simeon Olatunde, asserted this during an engagement to ensure possible ways of increasing the visibility of Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR) through their reportage in Kaduna.
According to him, over the years, the Network has been promoting good governance, tax education, and awareness to protect and advance taxpayers’ rights and compliance collaboratively with the state government, private sector, and development partners to improve and enhance the tax system that is inclusive and citizen-driven.
Olatunde added that the network engaged communities through the Community Development Charter (CDC) process to discuss concerns about tax at their community level.
The coordinator of TJN, however, expressed dismay that the knowledge of tax procedure is scarce among its media partners in Kaduna, hence the need to build their capacity for efficient and effective reportage.
Olatunde, who disclosed that engagement in partnership with the Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service (KADIRS), disclosed that the media, who was also part of the network, have very scanty knowledge of tax, which sometimes revolves around figures and tax lines, hence the need to build their capacity for efficient and effective reportage.
He described the media as a strategic partner whose contributions to promoting a fair, inclusive, and citizen-driven tax process were paramount.
“Everything we are doing on the network with the media is only at the micro level, not at a wider coverage,” he said.
He, therefore, said the engagement was to carry along other media, to expand the scope and educate, and build their capacity to bring an end to the issues of tax education.
In his remarks, Mr. Zakari Muhammad, KADIRS Head of Corporate Communication, said the specific objectives of the engagement were to increase the understanding and knowledge of media partners on IGR and its importance as a sustainable source of revenue generation.
He added that it was also to reawaken the media on their roles in empowering the residents to hold the government accountable.
Muhammad also said that the KADIRS was keen on receiving feedback and comments from stakeholders on achievements, challenges, and evidence about the current state of IGR and its budget contribution in the media space.
He, therefore, emphasized the crucial role of media in reporting and advocating voluntary compliance in Kaduna state, while soliciting their support for a robust reportage of the tax system, regime, and other related issues within the tax space.
Similarly, a Media Resource Person, Mr. Philip Yatai, said revenue generation, particularly IGR, was one of the key drivers of every development project.
He noted that the sole revenue earning for Nigeria, which is oil, is depleting globally and attached with many issues.
According to him, every developed country has its development tied to its IGR.
Yatai, therefore, said that the KADIRS had been working, including media engagement, which was not enough.
He, therefore, said the TJN worked in collaboration with the KADIRS to bring on board the media to carry out sensitization, advocacy, and development journalism on tax administration with an emphasis on tax justice and tax services.
Yatai called on the government and civil society to always respond to the media calls and work with them as partners to achieve the common goal of service to humanity and communities through tax generation.
Earlier, The Acting Executive Chairman of KADIRS, Mr. Jerry Adams, said the service was the sole authority mandated to collect and account for all taxes, levies, fees, charges, and rates in the state as listed in the first schedule to the Law.
Adams, represented by the KADIRS Executive Director, Revenue Operations, Dr. Muhammad Lawal, gave an overview of taxes and reforms from 2015 to date in Kaduna state.
He noted that a lot of transformation and structural reforms, which cut across manual to digitization in tax administration, had seen improvement in KADIRS operations over the years.
According to him, the transformation over the years had increased the state IGR, which ranked the state among the top five in the country on IGR.
Adams, therefore, urged the citizens to imbibe voluntary tax payment to continue enjoying development across all strata of the state.