The Delta Online Publishers Forum (DOPF), on Wednesday, November 22, 2023, held its annual lecture/convention in Asaba, Delta State. The topic of discourse for the lecture was: “Fiscal Policy and Taxation: Balancing Revenue Generation and Economic Growth.”
Following the successful conduct of the 2023 convention and the facts presented by the Guest Speaker and the three discussants, the forum resolved as follows:
1. That taxes should be paid by all taxable members of the society and companies. Taxes are essential for maintaining public infrastructure, funding social welfare programmes, ensuring national security, and managing the overall functioning of the country. Without taxes or negligence on the part of citizens, the government cannot function effectively.
2. That taxpayer; individuals and corporate bodies should not be overtaxed or overburdened, which could lead to reduced investment, decreased consumer spending, discouraged entrepreneurship, and an increase in tax evasion amongst others. By this, taxes should be levied in a way that payers can pay. An increase in taxation on the other, hand may hamper economic growth.
3. That tax payment and collection method should be simplified, and people should be educated on the essence of tax payment and how tax evasion could affect the economic development of societies
4. That multinational companies are the greatest defaulters. They take advantage of Nigeria’s weak institutions and escape without paying taxes to tax collection authorities.
5. That for every Deltan to be effectively taxed according to their capacity, there is a need for a data bank of all informal sectors who are the most important people in the society. This is so because since civil servants pay their taxes from source, a data bank of all informal sector will be useful for the tax collection agencies.
6. That government must provide justification for taxes collected from individuals and corporate bodies by judiciously deploying the funds to maintaining public facilities, and building public institutions that will have a positive effect on the lives of the citizens.
7. That individuals will comply with tax payment if the process is simplified, digital platforms are used, user-friendly interfaces are provided, and taxpayer education
8. That taxpayers will comply without much pressure if incentives are provided to taxpayers.
9. That where taxpayers appear unwilling to pay, enforcement should be strengthened with effective communication
10. That for Delta state to increase her IGR, there should be economic diversification, encouraging investment, there should be enhanced transparency and accountability, improved governance and service delivery, and promotion of cost-cutting measures
11. That corruption among public officers and tax collection agencies, has been a major challenge for Nigeria as it continuously cripples efforts of the government to meet the needs of citizens. When corruption indices are high, citizens tend to be less willing to pay taxes, fearing that their taxes will be misused or misappropriated.
12. That public financial management should be strengthened to enhance the efficiency and equity in public spending, a development which will lead to building public trust and improve compliance and revenue collection
13. That increase in government spending may lead to increased economic growth and fiscal policy, geared towards encouraging people and businesses to feel economic activities and alleviate their financial discomfort, will pick up considerably. This can go a long way to restore confidence in the government,
14. Expanding the tax net to include more and more diverse payers in the taxation system would help generate more revenue which must be utilized productively through transparent and accountable processes as against increasing the current tax rate. The government should formulate policies to bring the informal sector and agriculture into the tax.
15. For Delta State to enhance a better fiscal policy, the state government should leverage on information and communication technologies to improve revenue generation. Information technology should be used to bring more economic agents within the tax system.
Joe Ogbodu and Augustine Oyibode, Chairman and Secretary Communique’ Drafting Committee