The African Heritage Institution (Afri-Heritage), Enugu, has called on Nigerians to pay their taxes in order to meet developmental and transformational needs of the country.
The Executive Director of Afri-Heritage, a non public institution, Prof. Ufo Okeke-Uzodike, made the call in Enugu on Thursday while briefing newsmen on the forthcoming Big Ideas Podium Conference.
Okeke-Uzodike noted that the forthcoming conference with the theme: “Taxation and Accountability: Why Should Nigerians Pay Tax?” would be held on Thursday, March 24, both virtually and physically at the institution’s auditorium in Enugu.
He said that governments at all levels could do little without the people being so patriotic to ensure they paid their taxes as and when due especially “paying the accurate amount”.
The executive director noted that those running the government would not use their personal resources to fund development efforts.
According to him, Nigeria has the lowest Tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio among African countries and many Nigerians’ attitude to paying tax is just negative.
“We have about 77 million people in Nigeria doing one business or the other; while only about 10 million people actually pay their taxes in the country.
“Even some formalised organisations and government offices are not paying taxes and most that do pay are under-paying (not paying commensurate taxes),” he said.
He urged governments at all levels to ensure transparency and accountability in the issue of tax payment adding that social amenities needed to be provided so that the people could feel the impact of their taxes.
“There is an urgent need for all to pay their taxes. However, there is a greater need to be transparent, accountable and make judicious use of the tax resources for the betterment of citizens,” he said.
On the forthcoming conference, Okeke-Uzodike noted that Afri-Heritage as a think tank and advocacy institution wanted to find evidence-based solutions to the socioeconomic and sociopolitical issues surrounding “Why Should Nigerians Pay Tax?”
He said that the institution had gathered the best of human resources that had the know-how and experience on tax issues spanning decades to speak on the matter and proffer way forward.
“Dr Mark Abani, Founder/CEO MSCA Projects, Mr Emmanuel Obeta, formerly with Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Nnaemeka Eloike and Mr Gerald Ugochukwu among others to do justice to the discourse of the conference,” he said.