The Executive Commissioner – Stakeholder Management at the Nigerian Communications Commission, Mr. Adeleke Adewolu has narrated how multiple taxations can stifle innovation and discourage investment in the Nigerian telecom sector.
In a Keynote Address titled “Multiple Taxation: An Impediment to Economic Development, which he presented at the Regional Stakeholders Workshop on Multiple Taxation and Regulations in Ibadan, South-West Nigeria, Mr. Adeleke also noted that multiple taxations have become cancerous to economic development
“Tax initiatives by the various tiers of Government typically manifest themselves in the form of multiple taxation and by design, they reverse growth, stifle innovation and discourage investment. In parabolic terms, they are the scarecrows mounted by the government to disincentivize development,” he said.
Quoting National Tax Policy 2017, emphasizes the need to eradicate multiple taxation at all tiers of government, Mr. Adeleke noted that taxes similar to those being collected by a level of Government should not be introduced by the same or another level of Government, stressing that the federal, state and local governments shall ensure collaboration in harmonizing and eliminating multiple taxation.
Speaking on what can be done to address the challenge, he explained that the inauguration of the Committee on Fiscal Policy, Tax Reforms by President Bola Tinubu, which is geared towards harmonizing taxes will provide an avenue to further engage various stakeholders in order to identify their pain points and critical concerns bothering tax and fiscal policies.
This policy, according to him will also facilitate a conducive environment for local and foreign investment in the country.
“The paradox of multiple taxation is that it does not lead to an increment in government revenue, rather the crippling effect of these taxes, is that it makes otherwise profitable businesses, unprofitable. It negatively impacts the ease of doing business, shrinks the tax base, incentivizes tax evasion and complicates tax compliance,” he argued.
According to the World Bank, taxing a specific tax base will lead to increasing revenues up to a specific point, after which the overall tax revenue will decline because companies go out of business, or evasion increases significantly.
In addition to these challenges, the economic burden of multiple taxation is further exacerbated by the administrative burden of complying with these taxes. It further makes Nigeria an undesirable ground for breeding healthy business and competitive practices. The effect of this is that business enterprises in Nigeria struggle to compete with their counterparts abroad. These incidents weaken the country’s economic foundations, devalue the symbol of economic strength, which is the Naira.