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New tax culture ‘ll promote democratic values – Adetula

By Kayode Crown
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The new tax culture being foisted on the people of Ondo State would not only encourage buoyancy but also promote democratic values.

Making the declaration in Akure on Wednesday was the chairman of Owena Press Ltd, publishers of The Hope, Sir Ademola Adetula, while receiving members of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC).

Members of the non governmental organisation, came seeking tax advocacy partnership with the newspaper outfit.

Adetula disclosed that the awareness of tax payment has led to the improvement in the revenue base of the state from N10 billion  per year to N18billion within 18 months.

He said the promptings by various government agencies to make people pay tax will also galvanise the tax payers to inquire from government what it has done with their taxes.

Speaking further he said that once the members of the society are convinced that whatever they pay as tax will be put into good use and that the resources would be used for them, they would respond positively to tax advocacy.

He, however, decried the fact that previous governments had not lived up to expectations, saying, “basic necessity of the people have never been met. Most Nigerians provide their water, electricity, security and so on and so forth, things which are the basic responsibilities of government.”

His words: “The advantage that I see in this advocacy is that it’s going to make more Nigerians to be more inquisitive and  democratic.

The chairman assured the group of the company’s adequate collaboration in the coverage of their activities.

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Earlier in his speech, Mr Chinedu Bassey a Program Officer with CISLAC, said, “We are here to seek partnership with you to make the people know their right and what their civic responsibility is, which is to pay and their right, which is to demand for accountability from government.

He affirmed that the people need to have good deal from government when it comes to taxation and should not be weighed down by tax burdens, so that businesses can thrive.

He said, “We don’t tell people not to pay tax, they should pay tax, it is their civic responsibility but at the same time, nobody should be ‘killed’ and extorted in the process.”

He said their project is geared towards helping the people get the right information about taxation, getting it to percolate to the grassroots and to conduct research towards providing government with right feedback from the people, and acting on that, to reposition their activities with regards to tax drive.

“We tell the people what they are supposed to do. We educate the people on their responsibilities as citizens of the state,” Mr Bassey stated.

The project, he said, is spread across 17 states in Nigeria, and was started in 2014 as collaboration between CISLAC and OXFAM NOVIB, an international organisation, and it involves a network of Civil Society Organisations working on issues of good governance to form the Ondo State Tax Justice and Governance Platform.

The project is for the express aim of carrying out research work on perception of tax payers, educating, mobilising and informing the public on tax issues with a view to making them have the basic knowledge of what they are to pay, the significance of taxes and the method of payment and other issues related to tax administration in the state.

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Bassey informed that after gathering information from the people, “we tell the government that this is the information on ground, and this is what we think should be done to make the people live a better life.”

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