By Abiodun Obisesan.
[ad id=”187″]At a forum sponsored by giant beverage company, Coca-Cola, financial and tax analysts have projected that a global action plan is looming because the attitude to taxation is changing. Hence multi-nationals are expected to provide tax intelligence report, deploy technology that will provide accurate measurement tool of VAT and show corporate compliance to tax issues. According to PwC Partner / Head of Tax and Corporate Advisory, Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, there are increased uncertainties in tax payment in Nigerian and the cost of compliant will hit the roof in the nearest future.
During his presentation at Eko Hotel, Lagos, Oyedele stated that as much as the discourse on tax has moved from background to the boardroom, multinationals and business owners should keep themselves abreast of tax issues. ‘‘Nigerians need to know their obligations to tax. Also government have to put tax payers money into use. When people see good roads, water and other social infrastructure working, they will feel more obliged to pay their tax. Nobody wants to pay tax and use his money to fix roads, provide security and other services. We need to expand the tax base and ensure that tax payer money is to good use’’.
He advised government to adopt VAT threshold in order to encourage them to imbibe the culture of paying tax. ‘‘It is almost impossible for someone who makes a sale of one million per annum to start keeping records and filing returns. Many of them are not even educated. Government should look at the threshold of 10million per annum; they can exempt those whose sale is less than 10 million. Public awareness and education is very strategic in making government accountable to tax payer in Nigeria’’.
Coca-Cola Managing Director, Mr Adeola Adetunji, expressed confidence in the Coca-cola brand that has always thrown its weights behind so many initiatives. ‘‘Leadership is making progress and taking a body or an organization from where they are and where is supposed to be. That is why Coca-Cola throws its weight behind so many initiatives. As long as those initiatives will help communities, organizations make progress; we support different bodies which we call the golden triangle.
He believes that Coca-cola constantly deployed deliberative engagements with corporate participation, civil society participation and government participation. ‘‘By collaborating with those three bodies, we believe that we are able to move societies forward and make progress. After all, if communities don’t succeed, our businesses will not succeed. You will see us behind many initiatives to move the society forward’’.
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The government is on the right track by paying attention to taxation as a sensible form of revenue generation for the country. We are coming out of an era of relying on oil revenue which is not on the level it is supposed to be. The whole taxation system is not one that has been geared to extracting a reasonable level of tax revenue from the people to the government. At the moment, we have about 8% of the GDP which is extremely low. People need to be educated more about their responsibility for tax. The more taxes people pay, the more their expectations on government become validated. It curbs the excesses of government and allows tax payers to be more vigilant on government expenditure. We must begin to look towards technology as a means of collecting tax and enhance our legal system.
By Abiodun Obisesan.