“We can train Lagos Area Boys to be tax officers” – Presidential C’ttee chair, Oyedele

The Chairman of Presidential Tax and Fiscal Policy Reform, Taiwo Oyedele has spoken about efforts that are underway to reduce multiple taxes at the state and local government levels.

In an interview during a television programme at the weekend, , Oyedele stressed on how all stakeholders, including the ‘Area Boys’ must be brought on board in order to forestall crises that could arise from suspending multiple taxes.

According to him, area boys can be trained for tax collection and paid salaries, with the skills from such training capable of being useful to them.

He said, “We’re also thinking about how you bring all stakeholders on board because at the end of the day, if you stop the livelihood of anyone, whether they are earning it legitimately or not, you can create crises that would be difficult to manage but once you bring everybody in, maybe we need to train those area boys and touts, give them uniforms and then they’ll be the ones to ask you to show the evidence on your phone, right? And then they get paid a decent salary.

“And if you give them the skills, some of them will on their own, move on from that job to something else, right? So, our strategy is let’s think about what’s best for our country and get all stakeholders to align. We do think that all the stakeholders including the government want the best for their country and we just need to make them see that big picture and then come along with us. That’s the plan that we have”.

On updates on the recommendations submitted by the Tax Reform Committee, Oyedele said, “Fiscal policy matters are not as quick. So if you make a monetary policy decision today, you can see the impact tomorrow. Sometimes, fiscals take a little longer but even at that, I feel like we could have made progress faster. We submitted our first report in October with so many recommendations. Over 20 recommendations. As of today, maybe about three of them have been fully implemented. The remaining ones are in different stages of implementation.

“The biggest instrument to implement our recommendation is the Emergency Economic Intervention Bill that we came up with, trying to amend about 15 different laws and implement some very important changes that will help with price stability in terms of inflation, will help also in terms of costs that will help in terms of providing relief to the right people who are most impacted, that will help take the burden of small businesses And that would also in a large, a large part help with, you know, foreign exchange as well. I know that’s the purview of the central bank. But we also think it’s an area where we can work together between the monitoring of fiscal authorities and also even align with trade policies. So, those are different stages.

“In fairness to the lawmakers, we haven’t presented the bills to them. And that was also because once they had the budget for 2024 it became their priority. And we are aware that they were walking around the clock just to get the budget out of the way.

“But now that that’s out of the way, we want to try and prioritise this and send the bill to them and for them to also pass it as a matter of urgency. So the Nigerian people can begin to feel the positive impact sooner rather than later, you know”.

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