The deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Okezie Kalu has revealed the plan of the house, to work with the executive arm of government, in ensuring a comprehensive reform of the nation’s tax law and effectively eliminate multiple taxation in the country.
Kalu stated this while speaking at the World Bank Fiscal Governance and Institutions Project Focus Group Discussion at the Federal Ministry of Finance, Abuja.
According to him, the government was prepared to carry out fiscal reforms that directly address some of the most pressing issues in the tax system and overall fiscal policy in Nigeria.
The lawmaker disclosed that the commitment to reform is a testament to the dedication of the federal government towards achieving a more strong and equitable economic landscape.
He however noted that the National Assembly will take advantage of the constitutional amendment, to introduce flexibility to the tax policy reforms.
“One of the paramount challenges we are currently addressing as a government, is the issue of tax multiplicity, a labyrinthine web of taxes that has placed undue burdens on both individuals and businesses.
“Simplifying and rationalizing this system is imperative to alleviate the compliance burden and to foster an environment conducive to economic growth.
“In parallel, we have recognized the necessity of modernizing revenue collection through automation. This strategic move enhances efficiency and, equally important, reduces opportunities for corruption and revenue leakage.
“Furthermore, we are in the process of streamlining the multitude of revenue-collecting agencies as government.
“This streamlining initiative aims to improve coordination and, crucially, reduce duplicity in tax administration, ultimately making our system more efficient, transparent, and accountable.
“In the realm of tax legislation which is one of your objectives to get the buy-in of the legislators, there are promising opportunities to introduce comprehensive reform bills that encompass a wide spectrum of objectives, including simplification, modernization, and consolidation of tax laws.
“These reforms hold the potential to bring about increased clarity and efficiency, benefiting both taxpayers and tax administrators.
“We must consider how tax legislation can be strategically crafted to stimulate economic growth which I know is your dream while maintaining fairness and equity within the tax system.
“This entails a thorough examination of tax incentives, deductions, and credits to ensure they align with our overarching development goals.
“Consolidating tax codes by merging related provisions into one comprehensive law is another avenue to make the tax system more accessible and comprehensible for all stakeholders involved.
“Within the ongoing constitutional amendment process, we intend to explore opportunities to amend pertinent sections that will provide greater flexibility for fiscal and tax policy reforms,” Kalu stated.
He added that “This may involve decentralizing certain tax powers, centralizing others (as exemplified by the inclusion of Value Added Tax (VAT) on the Exclusive Legislative List), or introducing mechanisms for the automatic adjustment of tax rates based on economic indicators.
“Our tireless endeavours in the realm of tax and fiscal policy, led by President Bola Tinubu, signify a significant transition towards a more efficient, equitable, and investment-friendly environment.
“As legislators, we shoulder the responsibility of shaping the future of our nation’s fiscal landscape.
“By simplifying tax-related bills, motions, and constitutional alteration bills in a manner that fosters economic growth and streamlines our tax system, we can collectively contribute to the sustainable development and prosperity of Nigeria.
“Let us persistently work together to advance these critical reforms for the betterment of all Nigerians.”