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Over 30m Nigerians don’t pay tax ― Budget Office

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Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress

The Director-General of Budget Office (DG), Dr Ben Akabueze, says that over 30 million Nigerians, generating taxable incomes, do not pay tax.

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Akabueze, who made the observation yesterday at an interactive forum with the media and civil society organizations in Abuja, lamented that the non-payment of tax compounds the effort of the Federal Government to enlarge its revenue.

He noted that many Nigerians, who are not on the tax pool, are making money in the economy without paying any taxes.

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The Budget Office DG said: “Today, if you take Nigeria’s demographics, there are about 70 million people in the active population and even if you’re just for unemployment rate, there are about 70 million Nigerians generating taxable income and should be contributing in the tax pool no matter how little.

“But the total number of Nigerians in the tax pool by the Joint Tax Board record is about 41 million. So, there are about 30 million Nigerians out there not paying fair share.

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“And because of the gross informality of our economy, it’s difficult…and in the absence of a unique identifier for Nigerians, now there’s need to try to address that.

“But you see, it’s difficult. And there are lots of people, anonymous people making tons of money in this economy, paying no taxes.

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“So, how do we bring these people to pay their fair share? We have properties all over the place. Some of the people who own these properties pay no tax. And yet, this country really doesn’t have a national property tax regime.

“Even in a few states that have property tax, enforcement and implementation is a problem.

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“It goes back to this thing that we all don’t want to have this inconvenient discussion because even policymakers are part of the property owners. People don’t want to address that. Someone must push whatever.”

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