Address by His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan,GCFR At the Launching of the National Tax Policy and Nationwide Tax Identification Number Abuja.
It is with pleasure that I welcome you all to today’s historic twin event: the formal launch of the nationwide Tax Identification Number and the National Tax Policy. This marks the culmination of a journey which began almost a decade ago. The idea of a National Tax Policy first arose from the report of a Presidential Study Group and a Private Sector Working Group set up in 2002 which examined the Nigerian tax system and made recommendations towards entrenching a better tax policy and improved tax administration in the country. The National Tax Policy which we are launching today is a product of widespread consultation and deliberation at all tiers of Government and all sectors of the economy; one which, we believe, will lay the foundation for the complete transformation of the Nigerian tax system.It sets broad parameters for taxation and other ancillary matters, and provides clear principles governing tax administration and revenue collection.
The unique Tax Identification Number (TIN) system, introduced by the Joint Tax Board as a collaborative project between the Federal and State Governments, is a key deliverable under the National Tax Policy. TIN is a nationwide electronic database system for the registration and storage of data of tax payers in Nigeria. It is a revolutionary tool for tax administration and holds immense potential not just for expanding the nationwide tax base with consequent increase in revenue collection accruable to all tiers of Government, but is also a big step in the modernization of the Nigerian tax system, in line with global best practices and expectations. I commend the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, as well as the staff of the Federal Ministry of Finance, under whose diligent watch the reforms of the Nigerian tax system commenced and are being efficiently prosecuted. I also commend the State Governments and the Joint Tax Board for their collaboration in ensuring the successful implementation of the Taxpayer Identification Number. I recommend this productive collaboration model to other agencies of Government.
Let me also use this opportunity to particularly commend the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service and Chairman, Joint Tax Board for her dedicated and exemplary service to the nation over the last eight years. She has no doubt put the Nigerian tax system on an impressive pedestal and has overseen reforms and revenue generation that are unmatched in the history of the Nigerian tax system. This Government is particularly honoured to have had your distinguished service and, as you conclude your tenure, we wish you unqualified success in all your future endeavours. It is my hope that you will be ready and willing to avail the nation of your committed service should occasion demand.
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish to reiterate this Administration’s commitment to repositioning Nigeria for the challenges of today’s global economy. Overall, what we seek to achieve with the introduction of the National Tax Policy, is to have a nation and a people who see taxation as a partnership with government. We want to create a participatory system of taxation, where the taxpayers and other stakeholders all see that they have an equal stake in the tax system. We want to create an economy that is self sufficient and does not depend wholly on resource wealth to bring development to the people. Over and above all, we want to institutionalize a tax culture amongst Nigerians such that we see ourselves as custodians of the tax system and our commonwealth. We definitely are on the right track.
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is now my singular honour to formally launch the National Tax Policy and the nationwide unique Tax Identification Number to the glory of God and the sustained growth and development of our national economy.