The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has stressed the need for salary earners operating other businesses to also pay tax from their profits in order to help grow the economy.
Adeosun who stated this at the first annual lecture of the Lagos State Professorial Chair of Tax and Fiscal Matters, held at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, also lamented that out of the 70 million Nigerians due for tax payment in the country, only 40 million pay.
She said more than 13 per cent of these 40 million people fall into the category of Pay as You Earn (PAYE), who have their taxes deducted from source.
Adeosun, who chaired the event added that tax policies cannot be rigid hence must be constantly reviewed to capture new developments.
The lecture, which was delivered by Prof. Abiola Sanni of the university’s Law Faculty, was themed; “Policy, legal and administrative imperatives in the quest for eradicating multiplicity of taxes in Lagos State.”
She said; “I have kept asking why the 30 million people have refused to pay taxes. Another major challenge is the fact that many Nigerians have other sources of income, yet they are taxed only through the PAYE. Yet, they earn so much from part-time jobs, and extra businesses.”
According to the Minister, new tax policies in the country must capture online businesses, entrepreneurship and others such as the film industry, otherwise regarded as Nollywood.
Mrs. Adeosun, who reiterated the importance of taxation to national development, noted that every developed country has a robust tax policy and Nigeria cannot be an exception.
Prof Sanni, in his paper recalled how multiplicity of taxes started in the country and implications on the nation’s economy.
The lecture elaborated on the various aspects of how taxes in Lagos and in the country should be run.
The Vice chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said the belief of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State in universities as repositories of knowledge and sanctuaries of hope, had led to the endowment of N50 million for the professorial for a period of three years, and the appointment of Prof. Sanni as the occupier of the chair was aimed at achieving sound and implementable results.
He said; “As a proud alumnus of this university, Governor Ambode believes in our capacity to resolve issue and the appointment of Prof. Sanni was based on his capacity to deliver. We are, therefore, proud to gather here today to listen to the scholar’s perspectives and solutions to the seemingly intractable problem of multiple taxations.”
On his part, Chairman of the university’s Governing Council, Dr. Wale Babalakin, and that of the Board of Trustees for the professorial chair, Prof. Eddy Omolehinwa, urged the state government to increase the endowment fund and possibly raise it to one in perpetuity.