Mrs Ene Obi, the Country-Director of Actionaid, a non governmental organisation has called on all taxable citizens and corporate bodies to pay their correct taxes to boost national development.
Ene, represented by the Governance Manager, Actionaid, Mr Celestine Odo, made the appeal on Tuesday in Lagos at the opening of a three-day workshop on breaking barriers to education by increasing fair tax revenue in the country.
She said that it was fair for everyone to pay their taxes so that inequality does not spiral out of hand in the country.
The country-director said that tax revenue remained the most sustainable way to develop the economy and provide adequate public services to Nigerians.
To this end, Obi appealed to workers in the formal and informal sectors, as well as local and foreign companies in the country to pay their fair share of tax.
She said that taxation was a powerful tool for redistributing wealth within the society to address poverty and inequality rate.
“A functioning state that can meet the basic needs of its people must rely ultimately on its revenue to meet its development objectives.
“An effective tax structure can also create incentives to improve governance, strengthen channels of political representations and reducing corruption,’’ she said.
Furthermore, Obi said that without increasing tax, the Nigerian government can generate additional tax revenue by blocking leakages and end the regime of granting unnecessary tax incentives to companies and high net-worth individuals.
Similarly, the Education Programme Coordinator, Actionaid Nigeria, Mr Laban Onisimus, said government is unable to make adequate investments in quality public education especially for children in remote areas due to lack of sustainable financing for the sector.
“Governments should take actions to increase the size of national budgets by raising fair tax, particularly corporate tax.
“They should also take action to increase the share of funds allocated to and spent on free, quality, inclusive public education, and ensure that expenditure are sensitive to girls and marginalised children,’’ he said.
Also, Mr Emmanuel Mayah, the Founder of Satelite Times, an online news medium specialising in investigative reporting, urged journalists to investigate companies with the intention of exposing those who do not pay tax.
He explained that through investigative journalism, reporters can bring to light cases of corruption, illicit financial flows, tax justice investigation and budget fraud in the society.