The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) on Saturday inducted 285 new associate members as certified chartered practitioners in the field of taxation.
Mrs Gladys Simplice, President of CITN, said at the 44th induction ceremony of the institute in Lagos that the exercise was a mechanism to grow the tax administration system of the country.
She said the induction was also in compliance with the provisions of the CITN Act, CAP C10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, where the institute derived its power to regulate and control the practice of taxation profession.
According to her, the induction signifies commitment on the part of the inductees to become ambassadors of the profession at all times.
She, therefore, urged the inductees to uphold the principles and integrity of the profession in all their dealings and services to the society.
Simplice said the inductees should contribute their quota to the move toward ensuring increased tax awareness, effective and efficient tax administration system in Nigeria.
“The induction programme provides the opportunity to formally certify tax professionals who have met the requirements to practice as chartered tax administrators.
“As a chartered tax professional, avail yourself with opportunities of seminars, workshops and activities of the institute to constantly be updated with new developments and methodologies in the profession.
“Overall, our primary purpose is to maintain the sanctity of the taxation profession to the extent that knowledgeable, skilled and qualified professionals are available in Nigeria,” she said.
The CITN president decried the poor tax awareness among Nigerian citizens, calling for a change in the narrative.
She emphasised that citizens must be made to understand that they needed to contribute their quota toward the development of the country through prompt payment of their taxes.
She urged the government to assist in creating awareness and educating the public on taxation by providing conducive environment for businesses to thrive and developing amenities for overall public interest.
According to her, at the government level, it is important that tax policy initiatives and reviews in tax laws are well thought-out and followed through.
Simplice added that government should avoid the propensity to introduce earmarked taxes with the intention of raising revenues, while neglecting the impact such action would have on businesses and economic activities.
She said: “As a matter of fact, the thinking of Section 2.2.6 of the Revised National Tax Policy 2017 is that our taxes should be few in number, broad-based and high revenue-yielding. In effect, the administration of the taxes should be simplified for ease of enforcement and compliance.
“More than ever before, there is a compelling need to reinvigorate our enlightenment and education mechanisms. The National Orientation Agency (NOA) must wake up to its statutory responsibilities.
“The CITN council has approved District Societies as part of our concerted plan of action to change the part of its responsibilities.
“The continuous engagement in regular education and enlightenment programmes at the national level and through our District Societies is required to change the narrative of poor tax awareness among citizens,” Simplice said.
Mrs Helen Deile, Auditor-General of Lagos State, said that tax administrators should maintain professionalism in the course of discharging their mandates.
Deile, who was Special Guest of Honour at the ceremony, said that a tax professional must display honesty, humility and commitment when dealing with clients.
“I enjoin you to go out there and up the game of taxation practice and administration in Nigeria and globally.
“Taxation practice is not “settlements”. You need to equip yourself technically; be up to date with tax laws, tax jurisprudence as well as global tax practice. You are to be more driven by expanding the frontier of tax knowledge rather than only the pecuniary interest,” she said.
Meanwhile, one of the inductees, Mr Ibrahim Nura, called for harmonisation of the taxation system to help widen the tax net in Nigeria.
Nura said government should fashion out measures to restructure and strengthen the taxation system such that more people would pay tax, haven made citizens to see and feel the benefits of tax payment.