Establish Consolidated Taxpayer Database for Increased Revenue – Expert
Eme Offiong, Calabar
The Cross River State Government has been urged to leverage on technology for the establishment of a consolidated taxpayer database to guarantee increased revenue.
The former chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Babatunde Fowler gave the advice during a keynote address at a one-day workshop organized for staff of the Cross River Internal Revenue Service in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, southern Nigeria.
Mr. Fowler, who stressed that it was the obligation of every citizen residing in Cross River and Nigeria in general to pay their taxes, suggested the effective use of existing technology to create a database for enhanced revenue.
He attributed the alarming rate of tax evasion in Cross River State to the high-handedness and punitive measures deployed by administrators in collection and urged the government to equally create a business friendly environment as a way of attracting local to international investors.
Fowler stated, “some people think that tax payment is against the poor that is far from the truth. The issue of tax payment is an issue that involves everybody.
“You can follow up dormant taxpayers with technology by having a consolidated taxpayers database. Even though technology is expensive, leverage with the existing technology for increase in tax payment,” he suggested.
He advised the Cross River Internal Revenue Service to ensure that the state generates more Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) more than its expenditure.
Earlier, the acting Executive Chairman of the Cross River Internal Revenue Service (CRIRS), Mr. Edwin Okon said that the agency uncovered One hundred thousand (100,000) dormant taxpayers in the state.
According to Okon, the agency was liaising with FIRS to gather more information about the dormant taxpayers, noting, “the Nigerian Government has set up a committee on the collection of all taxes in its bid to create a single tax system where revenue generated would be shared across the three tiers of government.
He explained that the single tax system would eliminate the problem of multiple taxation and reduce the myriads of revenue points across the state soon.
In a message, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Mike Odere, who urged the participants to take the workshop serious, said the aim of the training was to build the capacity of administrators for a strong tax system in the light of dwindling federal allocation.
The workshop had the day theme “Growing a Sustainable Revenue and Tax Base in Cross River State”.