The National Assembly joint committee on Appropriations has urged the federal government to stop tax waivers and concessions already granted to corporate entities.
This was just as the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, on Wednesday, stated that non-interest financial market also known as Islamic financial market offers cheaper and more sustainable way to raise funding for major infrastructure, hinting that Nigeria would need to play deeper in the global non-interest market.
The National Assembly panel said the country was losing huge revenue to tax waivers and incentives.
It, however, suggested that all companies should pay their taxes in full to the government coffers and then request for rebate.
The chairman of the joint committee, Senator Adeola Olamilekan (APC, Ogun West), and other members stated this during an interactive session on the 2024 budget with the Finance minister, Wale Edun, and the budget and economic planning ministry, Atiku Bagudu.
The finance minister had told the panel that Nigeria lost over N3 trillion to tax waivers this year.
Senator Mohammed Sani Musa (APC, Niger) said the federal government should adopt the system of withholding taxes for tax waivers.
He said, “If you look at tax credits and the waivers, why can’t we adopt a system like what we are doing with withholding taxes?
“Withholding taxes is going into a fund. After a while, if you can prove that you have paid all your taxes, they pay you your rebate back. So, why can’t we do the same?”
Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno) said the government should be bold enough to stop the tax credits and waivers just as it did with the fuel subsidy.
He said, “I think we should be bold enough just like the president is very bold. I still want to use this opportunity to commend him for his speech to say there is no more fuel subsidy.
“If he were to consult and talk to people, the subsidy would have still been there. So, if you come out from here and declare that no more waivers, it must be appropriated, and you as the Minister of Finance can do that. We have to make bold decisions.
“Some people are taking advantage unnecessarily of Nigerians and benefiting to the detriment of Nigerians. We talk about tax credits; it is an expenditure and it should go through the National Assembly and there are no two ways about that.
“Look at these illegalities, remove them, and then let us move ahead. If not, this country is being drained by some loopholes. It is our loopholes in revenue collection that is killing this country.
“Few people are taking advantage of it. Look at the tax credit they collected for roads, up till now they did not do the roads. So, what the constitution says is very clear.”