The Nigeria Tax Justice and Governance Platform has challenged governments at all levels to create and strengthen conditions that will accommodate the inclusion of vulnerable and under-served communities in the palliative measures being implemented to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 backlash.
The not-for-profit network facilitating universal fair tax justice and good governance in Nigeria expressed serious concerns that these communities, if not properly targeted, may not benefit from the palliative intervention.
“Pertinently, we would appreciate measures that directly target the poor, people living with disabilities, informal sector, unemployed, underemployed, small businesses and start-ups, especially legitimate taxpayers,’ Chinedu Bassey, Coordinator of the group, said in a statement.
Specifically, the network called for the elimination of opacity in the use of funds for combating and containing the Coronavirus in the country, as well as improved accountability to individuals and other stakeholders.
“Government will therefore be expected to provide all these details in the public domain, using available technological tools and media platform,’ the group said.
This will also include “provision of more proactive, practical and measurable steps or actions using data and info graphics to communicate to the people at both the national, subnational levels.”
In addition, the group called for the “inclusion of civil society actors in the various COVID-19 task forces across board to strengthen transparency, accountability and diversity in the process as well as the ‘decentralization of the task forces to meet geopolitical needs and deal with specific challenges.”
Other recommendations by the group also include the extension of the date of returns and waiving of all penalties on late filing of VAT, PIT/PAYE, WHT, CIT and CGT.
This is in addition to advocacy for the suspension of all consumption taxes by the JTB in conjunction with state governments and compliance by collecting agents.
Following the spread of the Coronavirus across Asia and Europe, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, had earmarked N100 billion to enable the country prepare for the emergency.
Before now, both the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, and the Lagos State government had received emergency intervention support to the tune of N15 billion (Fifteen billion naira) in order to enable them combat and contain the spread of the pandemic.
Philanthropists, corporate organizations and development agencies have also offered various cash and relief support in the same vein.