Muhammad Shehu, the Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), emphasizes the importance of tax payment for Nigerians to boost government revenue and enhance service delivery.
He points out that currently, less than 40 million Nigerians are contributing to the tax pool, which he deems inadequate for a nation with a population exceeding 200 million.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, Shehu clarifies that political officeholders in Nigeria do not receive exorbitant salaries, contrary to popular belief. He also mentions that the RMAFC has developed software to promote transparency in revenue generation and distribution among the three levels of government.
Shehu commends the establishment of the Tax Reform Committee by President Bola Tinubu, highlighting its potential to bring the informal sector into the tax system. He stresses that increased tax compliance will lead to improved public services and infrastructure, benefiting all Nigerians.
He calls upon the Federal Inland Revenue Service to collaborate with the Nigeria Customs Service to identify individuals evading taxes. Shehu emphasizes that tax payments fund essential services, such as clean environments, transportation infrastructure, healthcare, pensions, and social security, urging citizens to fulfill their tax obligations.
Regarding recent public outcry over reports of a proposed 114 per cent salary increase for political officeholders by the RMAFC amid economic hardships, Shehu dismisses these reports as untrue. He explains that the RMAFC’s constitutional duty is to determine and review the salaries of executive, legislative, and judicial officers, and the last review occurred in 2007.
He reassures the public that given the current economic challenges, salary adjustments for political officeholders will only be considered when the conditions are more favourable and will involve input from stakeholders. Shehu dispels misconceptions about high salaries for politicians, citing examples of the relatively modest salaries of the President and ministers.
He clarifies that what people often perceive as extravagant earnings for lawmakers are actually statutory office running costs, which should ideally be centrally managed by the National Assembly Service Commission.
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