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Tax education reduces incidences of fracas in revenue collection -Ebonyi Commissioner- From Paulinus Ogbonna/ Abakaliki

Prof. Nwogo Obasi, the Ebonyi Commissioner for Market Development and Parks (MDP) says that effective tax education will reduce the needless fracas between the citizens and state revenue collection agents.

Obasi stated this on Tuesday in Abakaliki when he received members of the Neighbourhood Initiative for Women Advancement (NIWA) on an advocacy visit to the Ministry.

They said that once the traders and other taxpayers were properly educated and enlightened, issues of payment of taxes and other government-approved revenues would not lead to a crisis between the people and government revenue collectors.

According to him, the government will partner with any organization willing to assist it in educating, orientation, and enlightening the populace on the importance of tax payment.

He said: “I’m sure that if the traders and taxpayers are properly enlightened, the fracas that does erupt in the instances of tax collection will be minimized and that will also enhance the business environment which is our aim.

“Our overall objective as a ministry is to ease trade, market development, and engender a healthy business environment and I think the partnership with the organization will help to solve most of the problems associated with tax and revenue collection,”

The commissioner while emphasizing the importance of tax education said that it would increase knowledge of tax and tax matters, and would increase awareness and revenue base of the state in all ramifications.

Earlier, Mrs. Nancy Oko-Onya, NIWA’s executive director said that the organization noted that the lack of tax education was militating against the tax justice system saying that tax education and enlightenment would address the problem.

She said that NIWA and her collaborating partners aim to educate and increase awareness of taxpayers, particularly women and marginalized groups on tax rates, processes, record-keeping, and redress channels towards promoting compliance and protecting taxpayers’ rights.
She noted that the project would widen opportunities for taxpayers to access relevant tax information and redress mechanisms by providing contact details of Ebonyi Board of Internal Revenues Services (EBIRS) frontline officers, platform volunteers, and other relevant bodies.

The NIWA boss further informed that tax education would widen opportunities for taxpayers to access relevant tax information and initiate a process of popularising the existence of a Tax Grievance Mechanism (TGM) for taxpayers’ use.

She said that the organization identified several issues militating against the implementation of tax justice in the state including; the dearth of tax education, and the misconstrued impression about tax by the citizens that tax is a means through which the government exploits citizens.
She also identified apathy which led to non-compliance and the absence of an amicable redress mechanism that did not require arbitration as factors affecting the tax justice system in the state.

Our correspondent reports that NIWA in collaboration with Tax Justice and Governance Platform (TJGP), Ebonyi with support from OXFAM through the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) to promote Tax Justice and Governance Platform (TJGP) in Ebonyi.

“NIWA is the host organization of TJGP in Ebonyi, TJGP is a loose platform of Non-State Actors that promote equitable and just tax in Nigeria with its secretariat in Abuja, Nigeria, and has sub-national platforms in 26 states of Nigeria including Ebonyi,” she said. ENDS//

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