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FG urged to tax more Nigerians to fund budget

By on January 28, 2016

To generate enough revenue to fund the 2016 budget, the Federal Government has been urged to tax more Nigerians across the country.

According to BudgIT, a non-government organisation that specialises in analysing federal, state and local government budgets, the Federal Government should explore all available revenue-generating sources if it must actualise the over N6tn 2016 Appropriation Bill.

Speaking at a workshop on budget analysis in Abuja on Tuesday, the Team Lead and Co-founder of BudgIT, Mr. Oluseun Onigbinde, said it was possible for the government to generate over 50 per cent of the funds needed to finance the 2016 budget from proper taxation.

He said, “Every loophole that government finds with respect to those not paying taxes should be blocked. For the question is how does government gets to fund its budget when people don’t pay taxes and the price of crude oil, our major revenue source, is falling drastically?

“The government needs to drive efficiency and it should start with the revenue-generating agencies, particularly the FIRS (Federal Inland Revenue Service). It needs to also make sure that every Nigerian has an identity, for how do you capture or collect taxes without identifying the citizens of your country?

“They need to make everybody have a tax or an identity number. After we have all that, then we can now start to talk about borrowing money. So, it is possible to generate enough revenue to fund the budget from taxation. Of course, it is not something that can be done overnight. But there has to be an existing structure. We need to get the progressive structures in place because tax ensures income distribution mechanism.”

According to Onigbinde, the tax system at times adopts a mechanism where the richest people in the society support the poor.

“But the poor also have to pay something. So, a structure that ensures that everyone pays something should be developed, for we need to fund the budget,” he added.

According to him, the American economy depends more on its revenue from taxex, stressing that Nigeria could adopt the same model.