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Okeke-Uzodike decries multiple taxation, calls for transparency

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 EXECUTIVE Director of Africa Heritage Institution, (Afriheritage), Ufo Okeke-Uzodike has decried payment of multiple taxation in some states and local government areas in the country, saying that such practice adds to the sufferings of  the people.

  Professor Okeke-Uzodike emphasised the need for people to pay taxes,  pointed  out that there should be levels of taxes.

  Okeke-Uzodike, who spoke on the upcoming programme of the institution on Thursday, explained that payment of taxes should be categorised. He stressed that petty traders, the poorest of the poor should be exempted from paying taxes as obtained in other countries.

  He wondered why some people shy away from paying taxes, disclosing that the 2020  statistics showed that only 10 million Nigerians paid taxes.

  Speaking on the importance of citizens paying taxes, the executive director said, “administration has to be paid for. It has to take money .The key problems are constantly death with.”

  He explained that when taxes were not paid, there would be insecurity, no water supply, the problems would be worst and the transformation people are yearning for will not happen.

  Speaking on why people should pay taxes when things were not working in Nigeria,  the executive director said that social amenities should be provided for the people. There should be transparency and accountability in governance.

  “We must get government to be more responsible, more accountable and more transparent,” he said.

  Prof. Okeke-Uzodike said: “The issue of accountability and transparency  is important.   The social contract with the citizens should be accomplished. That’s what gives us courage.

  How much did you collect? In most countries, these are done very well.”

  On multiple taxation, he said: “It’s a problem. The issue is, do they have the will to stop it? We cannot have the state and local governments asking for the same tax.There has to be a way  local government and Statebmust  work out who is responsible, who  will share with the other.

  Professor Okeke-Uzodike  observed that local  governments sent out people in groups to collect this money and the money is not accounted for.  He said local governments should stop using thugs to harass people. “They collect money and they don’t account for it. Sometimes, people are giving them  thinking  that they were paying.

  “There should be levels of tax paying. You don’t expect someone selling groundnut from one place to the other to pay tax or someone carrying small vegetables to sell for the day to see if he can get something to cook for the family to pay tax.

  “I think, something is wrong .The government don’t seem to care  and you have people harassing citizens who are just trying to survive. We don’t have social security system.

 “There should be levels of taxes. When you compare Nigeria with other countries, they don’t pay taxes they should pay.”

  He explained that : “There are people you should not be asked to pay taxes. The people you should help to grow before you ask them to pay taxes.

  There should be a minimum that you should ask people to pay  and the taxes should be utilised, accounted for. Those responsible of handling this must be accountable, must be transparent. The responsibility is not only for government. Citizens should hold them accountable.

  There are about 10 million Nigerians that pay tax, most of them are in Lagos,. On average, about 120 people pay taxes in states.

  He was of the view that people should pay taxes and make the government accountable.

  He disclosed that the Big Ideas Podium will  hold virtually on Thursday, March 24, 2022. The theme is “Taxation and  Accountability: Why should Nigerians pay tax?”

  Keynote speaker is  Dr. Mark Abani, Discussants are  Emmanuel Obeta, Engr. Nnaemeka Eloike and Engr. Uhochukwu Gerald.

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