The decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria to cut taxes and levies from 200 to 10 is poised to excite manufacturers and brand owners who have been complaining about multiple taxation over the years. This action, which was recommended by the Presidential Committee on Tax Reforms and Fiscal Policy, will remove impediments to the growth of businesses and brands in Nigeria.
Speaking to the newsmen, Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, the Chairman of the Committee, explained that the committee was created to consolidate the taxes and levies at all levels of government, reducing the total number to less than 10.
On the fundamental goal of the committee to reform the nation’s tax policy and remove impediments against businesses in Nigeria, the chairman said his team had started rewriting the nation’s tax laws as part of the process of birthing a standard and more effective tax administration.
According to him, the task of restructuring the tax system in the country will not be achievable through the courts, citing the circumstances around the Value Added Tax (VAT), but by assembling stakeholders for deliberations and approaching the National Assembly.
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Oyedele also added that unofficially, there are more than 200 different taxes in Nigeria, which significantly burden businesses and make life challenging for the citizenry, stressing that approximately 96% of the total revenue collected by the federal, state, and local governments is derived from a small set of fewer than 10 taxes in the country.
He added that Nigeria is currently at a critical phase of revising its laws and regulations on taxation, adding that the committee had interfaced with the Senate and the House of Representatives to address all necessary reforms.
Oyedele further stated that the committee had commenced public consultation and stakeholder engagement on tackling some of the controversy around the VAT law, asserting that solutions will only come from Nigerians and not from the law court.
His words: “So all we did today was to formally present the report to Mr. President, but I will say that once we get the nod from Mr. President, it will be like just switching on the tap, and then the implementation starts immediately.
“There’s so much work for us to do, this is just milestone number 1, it is what we call the quick wins. The second phase, which is where we are now, is the critical reforms. Those critical reforms involve even rewriting our major tax laws, addressing something that everybody in this room will be very much familiar with; the multiplicity of taxes.
“We have over 60 taxes and levies, officially collectable by the Federal Government, state governments and local governments. Unofficially, those taxes are over 200, making life difficult for our people. So the objective we have, and that’s what we’re working towards, is to bring all of that to a single digit.
“So the taxes at all levels of government combined, we think should be less than 10 because about 96%, actually more than that, of our revenue across federal, states, local governments, currently is generated from less than 10 taxes and we’ve seen countries like South Africa generating more than our entire national tax revenue from just one tax.
President Tinubu has also ordered the immediate implementation of all recommendations by the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reform Committee across federal ministries, agencies, and departments.