Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun has stressed the need for salary earners operating other businesses to also pay tax from their profits in order to help grow the economy.
Adeosun made this point while chairing the first annual lecture of the Lagos State Professorial Chair of , held at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka.
The Finance Minister also lamented that out of the 70 million Nigerians due for tax payment in the country, only 40 million pay. She said more than 13 per cent of these 40 million people fall into the category of Pay as You Earn (PAYE), who have their taxes deducted from source.
She added that tax policies cannot be rigid hence must be constantly reviewed to capture new developments.
The lecture, which was delivered by Prof. Abiola Sanni of the university’s Law Faculty, was themed; “Policy, legal and administrative imperatives in the quest for eradicating multiplicity of taxes in Lagos State.”
According to Adeosun; “I have kept asking why the 30 million people have refused to pay taxes. Another major challenge is the fact that many Nigerians have other sources of income, yet they are taxed only through the PAYE. Yet, they earn so much from part-time jobs, and extra businesses.”
For the minister, new tax policies in the country must capture online businesses, entrepreneurship and others such as the film industry, otherwise regarded as Nollywood.
Adeosun, who reiterated the importance of taxation to national development, noted that every developed country has a robust tax policy and Nigeria cannot be an exception.
Last week, Mrs Adeosun vowed that the Federal Government will shame all tax defaulters after the expiration of the tax amnesty window. It would be recalled that government recently launched the Voluntary Income and Asset Declaration (VAIDS).
According to Adeosun“we will name and shame the defaulters after the deadline. we will definitely prosecute them. in addition, the worst court is that of public opinion. so we have about 500 letters ready, when i spoke to two people that i know of the 500 people, they were begging me to give them the letter personally.
the truth is that people don’t want to be embarrassed. tax evasion is a criminal offence and we will prosecute evaders after march 31, 2018.”