I said it yesterday: Nigeria needs to spend more efforts on Growth-innovation than Tax-innovation. It is unfortunate to have a dedicated website for stamp duty collection (paying for stamps for electronic transactions) when people continue to spend months to get Certificate of Occupancy on lands. Today, the IMF has joined the chorus, making it clear that Nigeria is making a mistake on the “aggressive” tax policy: “This is not the time to be aggressively introducing new tax measures”.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has urged the Nigerian government to exercise caution in its aggressive tax drive due to the impact of the COVID-19 on businesses and households in the country….
“It will be very important to have very nimble policy response to ensure that the hit to the economy is not compounded by policy challenges.
“This is not the time to be aggressively introducing new tax measures but there is a long-standing challenge on the fiscal side of needing to have sufficient resources generated by the government from non-oil sources to provide investments in health, education, and infrastructure. So, there is that long-term agenda that needs to be addressed. Right now, fiscal policy can be supportive and needs to be supportive.
Of course, the IMF does not need to tell us that; we ought to know that. It is offensive when we focus on tools to extract fees instead of making business processes easier. This is not to say that we do not need to improve our tax system. My point is that we need to innovate on business processes that would grow the economy. If Nigeria has put the energies and efforts we have put in automating tax processes on electricity, we will have 24/7 electricity by now. The most advanced process in the Nigerian private-public daily (formalized) business contact is tax: they now issue tax clearance via emails. But check every other thing: broken system!