By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The Nigerian Government has called on members of the Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators (CATA) to ensure that technology did not cause loss in revenues.
Speaking at the ongoing 42nd Annual Technical Conference of CATA in Abuja, which has over 20 countries in attendance, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, said that revenue is very important to every country adding that the digital era should add to revenue generation and not loss.
The ongoing conference is with the theme: “How Those The Digital Era Affect Tax Administration.”
“We are passing the message that beyond blocking illicit financial flow, Nigeria wants the internally generated revenue to impact the global economy.
“Nigeria has potential for investment opportunities and the Buhari administration has provided a conducive environment for businesses to thrive and we have the ease of doing business model. Nigeria is not without its challenges.
“The benefits of the digital era should outweigh the challenges. Considering the emergence of disruptive technology, it has led to communication challenges. We are supposed to benefit in revenue from the digital era and not lose,” Mustapha said.
“The challenge is for tax authorities to ensure that technology does not serve as a loss for revenue. We want tax compliance and security tax revenue.
“Many economies, especially those of the developing nations, continue to grapple with many challenges of COVID-19. Therefore, we want recommendations that will solve our problems,” Mustapha said.
On her part, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed Samsuna, said the tax challenges of the digital economy must be addressed.
“Nigeria has been spending money to champion the cause of developing countries. Resources should be used for the benefit of all. The digital era should not be an exception.
“The world has moved into the digital model. Artificial intelligence, soft wires are key to tax collection in this digital era. Nigeria is of the view that CATA is best placed to push for new dialogue of new tax administration.
“Tax officials must be trained and retrained.
The digital era is here, providing opportunities even though there are challenges in collecting tax from companies and individuals.
“We must review the rules and make it work. Nigeria is ready to work at ensuring a win-win solution. I am calling on this conference to provide solutions to the challenges we are facing today,” Zainab said.
Speaking, the President of CATA and the Executive Secretary, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami, said there has been disruptive technology where tax authorities are grappling with but added that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria revenue generation target has been on the increase.
“Tax administrators are under obligation to align themselves and must remain bound by the laws. All members of CATA have to deal with the challenges.
How are we fearing, what lessons can we learn from each other?
“This conference will produce a lot of ideas in a fast changing world. The conference is the right platform to crossbreed ideas for the benefit of all.
“We want the government to block leakages and other countries need to learn.
“While the COVId imposed a limitation, significant progress was made,” Nami said, adding that technology is transforming daily.
“The challenges will have similar problems and solutions. The conference will help us to improve our individual capacities and networking in tax collection in the digital era,” Nami said.
Also, the Kenyan Tax Boss, Dunkan Onido, who is also a member of the CATA secretariat, said countries keep mobilising tax revenue for a reform despite numerous challenges.
“This conference is an opportunity for countries to learn about new opportunities in the tax sectors.
“CATA membership has afforded various opportunities which includes training.
We have main support from the UK, Malaysia and other countries.
Elanza News reports that the Kenya tax boss said other countries who are yet to join CATA to do so.
The deputy British High Commissioner, Ben Llewellyn-Jones, said even though he is not a tax expert, he added that he pays tax.
He said a lot of things are not working as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic adding that the conference is important to addressing the challenges. “We shall encourage people to pay tax,” he said.