By Elizabeth Osayande
The 14th President and Chairman of Council, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, CITN, Dame Gladys Simplice, has stated that joining tax profession now was challenging due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the recent 43rd induction ceremony of the Institute, Simplice called on the inductees to show professionalism and expertise in their dealings as tax officers.
She said: “The outbreak of the coronavirus and its aftermath has brought unimaginable consequences on the world scene. Unemployment rates have doubled, economic growth has slowed down, production levels are on the low, to mention but a few.
“At the local scene, the negative effects of the pandemic are glaring, including a severe contraction in government revenues at more than 60 percent, a widening fiscal deficit, increasing debt stock and rising inflation.
READ ALSO: Expanding the tax net in Lagos
“So, your admission makes you stakeholders. As such, your contributions are key to the realisation of the goals of the Institute by your active participation in our programmes and activities.
“Furthermore, you should exhibit professional expertise in your work as tax professionals. The depth of your technical capacity confers greater respect and value on the Institute by all those that deal with you.”
On ways the federal government can tackle economic challenges, the tax expert noted that: “The recent reports of the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics has revealed a decline in the Gross Domestic Product for the third successive quarter, which signals that Nigeria is now in recession.
“In addressing this situation, the central message of the just-concluded 22nd Annual Tax Conference of the Institute which is centred on the theme ‘Taxation and Economic Competitiveness: Imperatives for National Development’ is apt.
“Some of the recommendations of the conference included: The need for prudent management of taxpayers’ money by public office holders to build trust among the citizens; performance-based budgeting to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the utilisation of government revenues;
“Prioritising expenditure to intervene in critical sectors that will accelerate national economic growth and performance; Use of tax incentives to attract foreign direct investment may not yield positive result, rather widening the tax net to include informal sectors will be the best way going forward.
“Government should come up with policies on tax incentives, and develop a systematic framework that will enhance the visibility of the incentives; the Nigerian government must collaborate with the private sector to save lives, protect livelihoods and lay the foundations for a strong economic recovery.”
On his part, Registrar/Chief Executive of CITN, Adefisayo Awogbade, tasked the inductees to make good use of the opportunities offered by the Institute.
His words: “Membership of our prestigious Institute offers you the opportunity to interact and network with a large number of tax professionals.
“The Institute creates an enabling environment for professional career progression as well as continuous improvement of your knowledge and skills through exposure to trending taxation issues.”
Earlier in his welcome address, Chairman, Membership and Professional Conduct Committee, Rev. Ben Omonayajo, explained that the induction was to confer members with an instrument of office to earn a living and contribute to the development of the country.
According to Omonayajo, “This event is meant to present the instrument of office to qualified members, with which they could earn a living and contribute to the development of our nation through this noble profession of taxation.
“Equally, the Institute seeks to use this avenue to acquaint them with the Institute’s expectations as tax professionals given the rights and obligations conferred on them as Chartered tax practitioners and administrators.
“We also seek, through this ceremony, to present this new crop of qualified members to the world as professional tax advisers, administrators, teachers and experts in the field of taxation.”