Cleen Foundation has said that the result of its findings through a survey has revealed that majority of Nigerians are willing to pay their taxes, saying however that more than half of the respondents believe that they are not required to pay Value Added Tax (VAT) thus indicating low public knowledge about the VAT system in Nigeria.
Speaking with journalists in Lagos, the CLEEN Programme Manager, Lagos ,Mr Nengak Daniel Gondyi, said that there is, therefore, an urgent need for tax education and enlightenment in Nigeria, especially the range of goods and services that require payment of VAT.
He said the high level of corruption noted in the activities of public institutions in Nigeria was also observed in the work of tax authorities at the federal, state and local levels and that nearly all the respondents (95%) believed that tax authorities at various levels are involved in corruption.
“This is made up of 58% who believe that all of them/most of them are involved and 37% who believe that some of them are involved. Unsurprisingly, only 3% of the respondents trust the Federal Inland Revenue Service a lot.
However 44% trust the FIRS “a little” and 20% trust it “somewhat”. Furthermore, slightly more than 4 in 5 (82%) of the respondents held the view that it is difficult to monitor how government use the taxes it collects and only 11% said tax usage is easy to monitor while and 7% said they did not know “,he said.
He said the findings were an aspect of the fieldwork for Round 5 of the Afrobarometer which was conducted in Nigeria from 29th October to 30th November in 2012 and interviewed 2,400 adult Nigerians and focus on public attitude to tax . Afrobarometer is a series of public attitude surveys conducted in 35 African Countries during the Round 5.
It measures public perception and attitude to issues of governance, democracy and development and evaluates the quality of governance and economic performance in Africa
Afrobarometer’s work in Africa is coordinated by the Centre for Democratic Development CDD-Ghana and in Nigeria by the CLEEN Foundation. Gondyi said the survey also revealed that majority of Nigerians (65%) share the view that citizens must pay their taxes to develop the country, while 35% held the view that government could find enough resources for development from other sources without taxing the citizens.
On the VAT, he said 51% of respondents believed they were not required to pay VAT on goods purchased from shops or traders in the country, while 42% believe they are required to pay.
“The survey further revealed that 46% of respondents believed that they are required to pay property rates or taxes even if they were unable to pay while another 45% believed that they are not required to pay.
Most respondents (66%) thought that tax authorities have the right to make people pay taxes and only 22%”, he said. He said the survey findings indicate that three of every four Nigerians (75%) are proud to be called Nigerians and also suggests that four of every five Nigerians (80%) are usually very careful when dealing with other people and only nearly only one in seven citizens (15%) believe that most people could be trusted.
“Furthermore, the survey indicate that nearly two-third of Nigerians (63%) are interested in discussing public affairs. Finally, on general attitudes, slightly more than four out of every five Nigerians (85%) hold the view that it is necessary to obey the laws of the land regardless of whom they voted for, while (14%) believe that it is not necessary to obey the laws of a government that they did not vote for,” he said.
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