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Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has said tax evasion was responsible for the current economic downturn in the country.

He argued that poor remittances made the economy “very feeble and unknown to the citizens, they are indirectly contributing to the government’s low performance, which is occasioned by their refusal to remit accrued taxes to the government as when due.”

Mustapha stated: “Citizens’ continued tax default has further plunged developing nations into recession even when the economy is said to be out of recession. The obvious fact is that the economic operations of developing nations with citizens’ low tax remittances make the countries economically feeble”

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Represented by the Principal Administrative Officer in his office, Mrs. Chinyere Onyegbule at the second Civil Society Tax Compliance Advocacy Workshop in Abuja, the SGF noted: “It is a two-way thing. When one fulfills his/her statutory obligations of tax remittance to the government accurately, the other one will have a positive impact to keep the economy stable.”

He admitted the need for a cordial relationship between government and citizens to enhance collection, adding: “It is also the responsibility of citizens to pay their taxes and also behoves us as a government to ensure that the taxes paid by citizens are adequately used to develop the country for the general economic wellbeing of the society.”

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While blaming the low remittances on lack of information, Mustapha harped on the need to urgently bridge the information gap for better outcome.

In his contribution, Executive Director, Initiative for Leadership and Economy Watch in Nigeria, Splendour Agbonkpolo, said his organisation was planning a nationwide tax compliance advocacy outreach survey.

He solicited government’s support, stating that tax revenue generation could only improve with a corresponding awareness on compliance.

IN the meantime, the Federal Government granted over N341.94 billion waivers on imports and duty in the last two years as part of incentives to ease means of doing business in the country.

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Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, made the disclosure yesterday while opening a stakeholders’ awareness programme on digitalisation of Import Duty Exemption Certificate (IDEC) in Kano.

She explained that the waivers, offered between August 2017 and August 2019, were leased to private sector and government agencies, especially those involved in agriculture, power, textile, cement, solid minerals, gas and modular refineries among others sectors.

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