The Federal Government has been urged to tax more Nigerians in order to generate enough revenue to fund the 2016 budget.
Nigeria’s foremost Civic Technology organization BudgIT Nigeria made the call on Tuesday in Abuja during a workshop on budget analysis for stakeholders.
The Team Lead and Co-founder of BudgIT, Mr. Oluseun Onigbinde, said it was possible for the government to generate over 50 per cent of the funds needed to finance the 2016 budget through proper taxation.
Onigbinde said: “Every loophole that government finds with respect to those not paying taxes should be blocked. The question is how does government gets to fund its budget when people don’t pay taxes and the price of crude oil, our major revenue source, is falling drastically?.
“The government needs to drive efficiency and it should start with the revenue generating agencies, particularly the FIRS (Federal Inland Revenue Service). It needs to also make sure that every Nigerian has an identity, for how do you capture or collect taxes without identifying citizens of your country?
“They need to make everybody have a tax or an identity number. After we have all that, then we can now start to talk about borrowing money.
“So it is possible to generate enough revenue to fund the budget from taxation.
“Of course, it is not something that can be done overnight. But there has to be an existing structure. We need to get the progressive structures in place because tax ensures income distribution mechanism.”
Onigbinde noted that the tax system at times adopts a mechanism where the richest people in the society support the poor.
“But the poor also has to pay something. So a structure that ensures that everyone pays something should be developed, for we need to fund the budget,” he added.