By Thenigerian

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday disclosed that the nation has increased its tax net from 14 million in May 2017 to 19 million this year.

He stated this while declaring open the 2018 edition of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, CITN, where he was the special guest of honour. 

Osinbajo stated that as at December 2017, only 943 Nigerians paid self-assessed taxes of less than N1 million.

According to him,

    “Earlier, I noted that as of May 2017, only 14 million economically active Nigerians pay taxes.

    “I am pleased to note that the number is now in excess of 19 million and still growing.

    “This means that efforts led by the Federal Inland Revenue Service in collaboration with many of the states inland revenue services have already added more than five million new taxpayers to the tax base.

    “But there is still a lot of work ahead of us; as Nigeria races to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of tax compliance we all have a role to play in this.’’

The Vice President noted that tax issues were not exciting to anyone but added that it was an argument on whether one should pay taxes or enjoy dividend of governance.

He stated that in reality, it should not be debated as compliance and good governance should exist side by side as the head and tail of a social contract that binds citizens and government.

Osinbajo said it was difficult to explain the cynicism displayed by Nigerians about governance and about fulfilling their tax responsibilities.

According to him, “

    Governments generally have the nonchalance of fulfilling their own part of the social contract.

    “But it is also a fact that when people pay taxes, they are more inclined to hold their governments to account.’’

He noted that it was almost 300 years since “no taxation without representation’’ became the rallying cry for the U.S. covenant and one of the main triggers of their revolution that earned U.S. colonies at the time independence from Great Britain.