According to Muhammad Shehu, Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, only about 40 million Nigerians pay their taxes.
He mentioned this while pushing citizens to pay their taxes in order to increase government revenue and improve service delivery.
“That is too low for a country with over 200 million people,” he remarked.
Shehu stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday, and also stressed that political office holders in Nigeria do not receive extravagant emoluments, as popular belief has it.
Shehu also revealed that the commission created software to improve transparency in revenue creation and distribution among the three levels of government.
He praised President Bola Tinubu’s recent formation of a Tax Reform Committee.
He stated that the committee would work hard to bring economic actors from the informal sector into the tax net.
“There’s a lot of talk about the informal economy. This tax reform group will bring together a number of entities, including RMAFC. That committee includes us. We have stated our perspective and will explain what we believe will bring value to the conversation.
“At the end of the day,” he continued, “we will have a better society where more people pay taxes and the money will be used for better services and infrastructure so that every Nigerian can benefit.”
He encouraged the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Nigeria Customs Service to work together to identify certain types of Nigerians who avoid taxes.
“The government does not receive certain taxes from Nigerians.” I believe the FIRS will consider all of these factors before collaborating with the NCS to improve efficiency.
“I believe it is critical for every Nigerian to try to pay their taxes because it is from those funds that services are provided.”
“All of the things that people like to tell you about clean environments, good roads, and functional infrastructure in other countries are paid for with taxes that citizens pay.”
“People should learn to pay their electricity bills, their water bills, just like they pay for phone recharge cards.”
“The more you pay your taxes, the more money the government has to put into road and rail construction, better hospitals, pensions, social security, and a better plan to help the needy,” he explained.
While response to Nigerians’ recent disapproval of news on the commission’s proposed 114% increase in salaries for political office holders, amid what they described as severe economic challenges in the country.
The RMAFC president stated that the wage increase information was false.
He did, however, state that it was the RMAFC’s constitutional duty to decide and monitor the salaries of executive, legislative, and judicial offices.
He stated that their pay was last reviewed in 2007.
“There hasn’t been a single review since 2008,” he claimed.
He stated that, given the current economic issues of Nigerians, the commission would not consider the predicted rise at this time.
“We are Nigerians; we are not going to start talking about reviewing the salaries of political office holders now because the government is facing challenges.”
“We will do it when the climate is right, and then we will present it to the stakeholders, who will decide what to do.” I want to disabuse Nigerians of their misconceptions. It is not true that people are paid astronomical amounts of money.
“The monthly salary of Mr. President is less than N1.5m; that of a minister is not even up to N1m,” Shehu remarked.
According to the chairman, what people thought were excessive salaries for legislators were statutory office running costs, which should normally be administered centrally by the National Assembly Service Commission.