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Group Wants Govt To Review Tax Policy

A coalition of civil society groups, under the auspices of Tax Justice Advocacy and Governance Platform, has called on the Bayelsa Government to overhaul its tax policy for greater effectiveness.

The group made this call at a press conference on its development activities in Yenagoa on Sunday.

It urged the state Ministry of Finance, Board of Internal Revenue and local government to set up a committee to partner with the group that would work toward achieving tax justice.

Bayelsa Coordinator of the platform Elizabeth Egbe said the group comprised of tax payers, tax administrators, civil society groups, trade unions, among others.

Egbe said the group, which sought to promote fair and transparent tax system, had observed that the present tax system was adversely affecting business operators in the state.

“The tendency for the government to pursue revenue drive as much as possible through tax collection in a manner that ignores the right of citizens is a possibility, especially as power corrupts, if not checked.

“When tax becomes strictly revenue-driven, the tendency for injustice becomes higher.

“Tax justice proposes that all citizens pay all the taxes they are expected to pay according to their ability to the appropriate authorities and jurisdiction with ease and convenience but timely.

“It requires the state to collect all available taxes from all taxable sources, block all possible loop-holes such as avoidance, evasion and corruption through strict enforcement of tax laws,” Egbe said.

Egbe said a recent survey conducted in Bayelsa indicated that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) were overburdened by the complexity of tax rates and regimes, multiplicity of taxes, number of taxes, high cost of compliance.

Others were proliferation of regulatory and collecting agencies, timing of tax reporting and payment, tax base, among others.

She noted that it was therefore obvious that an inclusive tax system was required to promote MSMEs in Bayelsa.

According to her, the platform seeks a balance between the obligations and the rights of the state to collect taxes and the duties of the citizens to pay their taxes.

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