Federal government has initiated a nationwide tax awareness campaign to capturing 70 million more tax payers in its net.
Briefing the press, yesterday, in Abuja on the initiative, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, minister of Finance, said 7,500 young graduates would be recruited for that purpose.
According to her, those to undertake the campaign will be engaged for a fixed term of two years.
She said those to be recruited, who would be christened Community Tax Liaison Officers (CTLO), would be trained and deployed to communities to raise awareness and educate citizens at all levels on the tax system in Nigeria and why they should pay their taxes.
Specifically CTLOs would: “Increase tax awareness to raise compliance; educate all citizens on the tax system; tax outreach to increase the number of tax payers; and enroll new tax payers.”
The minister explained that the CTLOs would not act as tax collectors, as their mandate would be to only educate the public on the nation’s tax system and the benefits of taxation.
Justifying the CTLO initiative, Mrs. Adeosun said: “With a tax to GDP ratio of only 6 per cent, one of the lowest in the world and 14 million tax payers out of 69.6 million economically active people (20 per cent), there is a lot of work to be done in creating awareness and bringing people into the tax system.”
“A CTLO is not expected to assess people for tax purposes or collect taxes on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria. We will recruit up to 7,500 CTLOs through the N-Power Program.”
On the campaign strategy, she said CTLOs would be deployed nationwide and would address the public in places within each community, especially markets, schools, churches, mosques and airports.
Mrs. Adeosun said that the diversification of the nation’s economy had made it imperative to increase the number of tax payers and that with a larger tax payers base who pay a little each, the tax revenue would significantly appreciate.
She added that tax administration in the country has been designed in such a way that those who earn small incomes pay very little tax, while high income earners, pay larger taxes.
Mr. Tunde Fowler, chairman of the Federal Inland revenue, added that graduates between the ages of 18 and 35 would be recruited through the N-Power website under the tab, “N-Power Tax”.
He said that all an interested applicant needed to do would be to visit the N-Power website atwww.npower.gov.ng for full eligibility requirements.
According to him, “CTLOs would enjoy performance based incentives as well as the opportunity to be sponsored to pursue professional tax examinations if they qualify.”