By G9ija

Minister of Finance Mrs. Zainab Ahmed has assured citizens of Federal Government’s commitment to exercise fiscal prudence and ensure they get value from the country’s wealth.

She made this known in a statement at the weekend at the 3rd edition of the Telecommunications and Technology Sustainability Working Group (TTSWG) industry webinar with the theme: ‘Fast-tracking Economic Recovery through Robust Tax Policies and Practices’.

The minister said: “To maximise its revenue, the government will ensure policies to enable successful implementation of tax reforms through the Finance Act 2020 and also to ensure that revenue generating entities have resilient systems and we can continue to operate amid the lockdown.”

Ahmed said the economic sustainability plan includes policies to rationalise tax expenditure and incentives to recover unremitted funds by government-owned enterprises and unlock value for government assets that are under- utilised.

Other speakers were drawn from the telecoms and technology industries as well as government agencies who spoke on the need for public and private partnership to initiate and sustain favourable tax policies.

Discussants from the public sector argued that taxation was the basic source of revenue for the government as evident in every thriving economy, but was neglected for many years due to the funds derived from crude oil.

Consequently, the fall in the price of crude oil, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, has reinforced the need to prioritise taxation, and for businesses from all sectors just like citizens, to live up to the civic duty of prompt payment of correct taxes.

The minister said the government is open to exploring public-private partnership on the interventions and also other key sectors of the economy.

She urged industry players to support the government in charting Nigeria on a resilient and sustainable path of growth.

The association presidents for the licensed telecoms companies and telecoms operators advocated a review of taxes and levies numbering 40 that businesses in the sector are expected to pay.

They decried the misalignment between the federal and state governments and their agencies with respect to repeated levies and taxes demanded from organisations to the detriment of profits and economic challenges despite increasing operational costs.

Other speakers called for a further dialogue in the wake of increased taxation by the government due to challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

They called for a review of the 2016 tax policy that applies to the telecoms and technology industries as a measure to ensure the success of the digital economy strategy and auxiliary policies of the government targeted at broadband infrastructure development.