The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has threatened to deal with tax evaders, including those sabotaging the implementation of the Nigerian tax system.
Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, executive chairman of the FIRS, stated this during the public presentation programme for secondary students on tax education pilot project of the FIRS and the Society for Youth Empowerment in Nigeria (SYEN).
He said that the tax saboteurs would only hide for a while, and that the Law will catch up with them sooner or later. “Tax evaders can only hide for a while. They cannot run forever from the arms of the law”.
The FIRS chairman who was represented by Dr. Teju Somorin, the coordinating director, Enforcement and Compliance Group, explained that tax is that vital fluid that ensures that government is run effectively and in a sustainable manner.
Tax, she noted, provides the necessary internally generated revenues for development and ensures that the creation of prosperity of the nation and its component parts.
She further told the teachers and students thus: “Taxation plays a vital role in national development. Tax determines whether we will have sufficient money to provide education, good roads, running taps, constant electricity, good health system and impregnable country and a national where all of you can realize your lofty dreams and be happy”.
The FIRS boss continued, “I know you now know the role of taxation in national development and how a nation could use taxes to fund sustainable development. I know from the pictures and cartoons I have seen on the walls out there and your handwritten comments that you will be good citizens by paying your taxes when you grow up and attain the heights in your chosen careers”.
While admonishing the students to aspire to be good citizens that pay tax in future, Omogui-Okauru disclosed that the FIRS is finalizing its programme to endow professional chairs in at least one university in each of Nigeria’s geo-political zones.
Earlier, Robo Oduwole, executive director of the SYEN, said that the main thrust of the programme is to introduce the concept of tax as an important civic responsibility, educate students on the tax types in Nigeria and imbibe in them a tax paying culture.
“Children often feel ostracised from the adult world of politics, taxation and government because they are told it is not their responsibility but experience tells me that children are never too young to be involved in the world around them. They should be aware of how government and what their responsibilities are as citizens,” she said.