Raymond Ozoji, Awka
Anambra state has commenced its Tax Awareness Week with a view to educating the citizenry on why it is imperative that they pay taxes to enable governnent to provide social security as well as basic amenities.
Speaking at the Breakfast meeting held at Bon Hotel Awka yesterday, President and Chairman of Council of Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, Dame Gladys Simplice, said it was important Anambra citizens paid their taxes as part of their civic duties to the state.
Simplice, who was the keynote speaker on the occasion, explained that taxation doesn’t kill but enables one to contribute his token in the governance process, emphasizing that there is no hiding place for tax evaders in the state.
She said that tax payment is a constitutional requirement of every citizen and that governnent does not have a tree where it goes to pluck money to build roads and other infrastructures, that it is through taxation that governnent meet its obligations.
Although she pointed out that most times tax professionals find it difficult to convince tax payers to pay because of the lack of vital basic amenities, she said tax administrators equally prevail on government to fulfil its side of the bargain.
Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Paschal Agbodike, observed that Anambra people contributed significantly to the tax revenue in Lagos and other states of the federation.
Agbodike said the state governor was financially prudent as evident in his management of the meagre resources in the state. He therefore noted that if Ndi-Anambra paid their taxes, it would really assist governnent a lot in executing its policies and programmes.
The Deputy Speaker stated that citizens would not have the moral justification to query governnent, if they don’t pay taxes. He explained that tax payment is the yardstick to determine a responsible citizen while calling on the state internal revenue service to take sensitisation to the grassroots to enable them to see the need to contribute their token to the development of the state.
Mr. C. Don Adinuba, Anambra Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, said Anambra indigenes in the Diaspora pay taxes to the coffers of the state government and that records of tax utilisation is exemplary in Anambra state.
The commissioner noted that Anambra received one of the lowest allocations from the federation accounts and yet the state is the most competitive in the federation.
He said that Anambra citizens pay their taxes regularly and voluntarily because they have seen practical utilisation of the resources, adding that there is a high level of trust in the present state government.
The Chairman Anambra State Internal Revenue Service, Dr. David Nzekwu, said the state has fared very well in tax payment. He observed, though, that a large chunk of the payments came from the formal sector.
Nzekwu explained that the Tax Awareness Week would be used to educate those in the informal sector to pay taxes as only about 7,150 people pay taxes to the state coffers. He said that with the measures the revenue agency has adopted, it is hoped that by the end of this year, over 200,000 persons would have paid their taxes in the state.