The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the state government’s insistence on the use of technology for tax collection as against non-state actors and consultants was to ensure that traders are protected from harassment and double taxation. He said his administration would strengthen ties with the Tax Appeal Tribunal, South-South Zone, to boost tax compliance in the state, especially with the recent influx of investors into the state.
The governor disclosed this during a courtesy visit by the Chairman of Tax Appeal Tribunal, South-South Zone, Prof. Obehi Odiase-Alegimenlen, to Government House in Benin City. The governor explained that the ban placed on the use of consultants and non-state actors and the introduction of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for tax collection is aimed at protecting traders and other taxpayers from harassment and double taxation. “This move has led to a backlash, but we will not go back on that decision taken by this administration,” Obaseki added. Obaseki noted that taxation remains the main source of revenue for most states in the country, adding that any state focused on growing its internal economy must ensure that the people imbibe the culture of paying their taxes and demanding accountability from government. “I appeal that we work together on advocacy, especially in improving the communication mechanism to drive compliance. People ought to know the importance of paying taxes and that it is their civic responsibility,” he added. He said the state has undertaken significant reforms in tax administration and has implemented a series of initiatives in deploying technology for tax collection, which have made the process easier and more transparent. Obaseki explained, “We believe that we can introduce more technologies to drive transparency and make tax collection easier. People don’t want to pay taxes, forgetting that it is their civic responsibility as it helps to develop the economy.” The Chairman of the Tax Appeal Tribunal, South-South Zone, Prof. Obehi Odiase-Alegimenlen said the tribunal was set-up to resolve disputes from clients of tax authorities. “In the advanced world, taxation is a very important aspect of our development finance but not so in Nigeria. The Federal Government is trying to make taxation a relevant aspect of getting finance for developing the country,” he added.