At a workshop on the ‘Role of Women in Enhancing Revenue Generation and Tax Administration in Nigeria’, the acting chairman of FIRS, Mr. Kabiru Marshi, said so many Nigerians were evading tax; a development which was not helping government in its revenue drive.
He said women have critical roles to play in revenue generation and tax administration in Nigeria; hence women need to join in the crusade to fight tax corruption in Nigeria.
The acting chairman advised women to come out and vote during elections in order to elect those who will determine what becomes the tax law and who utilises the revenue so generated.
“Women also need to step up and go for elective posts while those in positions of authority need to join in the crusade of stamping out corruption which is the first enemy of progress in ensuring that the populace gets value for the taxes they have laboured to pay.
“They also need to ensure that taxation as a culture is impressed on our children and also encourage their husbands to live within the provisions of the law,” he said.
The chairman also advised the women to take the issue of taxation down to the grassroots, adding that the FIRS is currently working on a presumptive tax regime for the informal sector.
“As SWIT members, you have the moral responsibility to join in the campaign for voluntary compliance, such as religious organisations, professional bodies, associations and markets group,” he said.
In her speech, Wife of Governor of Cross River, Mrs. Obioma Imoke said, it was remarkable to witness the quantitative and qualitative strength of women in taxation, normally viewed as a male-dominated industry.
Imoke described SWIT members as living proof of the magnitude and impact of women on the economic growth of the nation, adding ‘Gender in Nigeria Report 2012’ shows that Nigeria currently ranks 118 of 134 countries in the Gender Equality Index.
According to her, the research further show that women make up only 21 per cent of non-agricultural paid labour force, and Nigeria has one of the lowest rates of female entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa.
She said majority of Nigerian women were concentrated in casual, low-skilled, low paid informal sector employment and only 7.2 per cent of women own the land they farm.
“This limits their access to credit and constraints entrepreneurship and business activity. We must all work collectively to remove all the factors that hinder their optimal participation in and contribution to economic activity. By creating an enabling environment that will enhance female productivity in both the formal and informal sectors of our economy,” she said.
Imoke called for a fairer, more inclusive and progressive tax structure in the country and that governments at all level and the respective agencies must work to create a more effective, efficient and economical system for tax collection and revenue generation.
Earlier, the National Chairperson of SWIT, Mrs. Justina Okoror, said the event was part of effort to ensure that policies on taxation and national development impact positively on women, children and the less privileged.
“The idea is to ensure that tax revenue are collected very efficiently, fairly and justly and also ensure that tax revenues are used for the upliftment of the quality of life of our people,” she said.
Okoror said SWIT was working to ensure that women issues and women rights were being reflected in government tax policies in across the states of the federation.
“We are working hard to establish SWIT branches in every state of the federation. So, that through the activities of these branches, the ordinary market woman and the woman by the street clearly understands her tax rights,” she said.