Multiple taxation by states stifles economic development —NCC Commissioner

Adeleke Adewolu

By Williams Ago
Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr Adeleke Adewolu has described multiple taxation imposed on telecom companies by States and their agencies as an impediment that could be inimical to economic development.

Mr. Adewolu made the startling revelation during a regional stakeholders workshop on multiple taxation and regulations organized by the NCC for the Southwest zone held in Ibadan, Oyo State.

The workshop was hosted specifically to brainstorm with senior government functionaries from all the states in the South West geo-political zone in order to build better understanding how cancerous and harmful the issue of multiple taxations and regulations being imposed on the telecom companies by the States and their agencies can be to the country's development.

He revealed also that the World Bank has already termed the presence of multiple taxation as 'nuisance taxes' despite the fact that taxes are generally known to accelerate economic growth.

He explained however that it is important to emphasize that taxation, in and of itself, is a veritable tool for economic development and emphasized that a fiscal tool for economic development like taxation can become inimical to economic development if not executed appropriately.

According to him, the workshop is intended to correct some misconception about taxation, particularly the misguided notion of taxation as a penal tool on thriving business enterprise.

He said, "Taxation is the backbone for public finance. It provides guaranteed and sustainable sources of funding for social programs and public investments. It also serves as a tool curated by the government to effectively and efficiently distribute our commonwealth.

"It is thus evident that taxation is critical for making growth sustainable and equitable. Thus, taxation by design is an instrument for economic development and it is important to acknowledge and support the initiative of all tiers of Government in using taxation as an instrument for socio-economic development."

He however pointed out that supporting the tax initiatives by the various tiers of government includes indicating where a category of taxes have become cancerous to economic development.

He said: "These type of taxes 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 government to disincentivize development."

"The National Tax Policy 2017 emphasizes the need to eradicate multiple taxation at all tiers of government. Specifically, the policy states that taxes similar to those being collected by a level of government should not be introduced by the same or another level of government. The federal, state and local governments shall ensure collaboration in harmonizing and eliminating multiple taxation", he reminded the senior government officials.

He also reminded them that in President Bola Ahmed Tinubu's commitment to address the vexed issue of multiple taxation in the country, he recently signed a number of executive orders to cut arbitrary taxes in the country.

"Also, the inauguration of the Committee on Fiscal Policy, Tax Reforms by the President, 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 would also facilitate an environment conducive for local and foreign investment into the country," Mr. Adewolu made stressed.

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