STAKEHOLDERS SEEK DEEPER EGOVERNANCE STRUCTURE VIA TECHNOLOGY
The Executive Vice Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), and Chairman, Joint Tax Board (JTB), Muhammad Nami, has disclosed that technology wave is one of the key trends impacting tax functions. Nami said this has resulted in the transformation of tax policies, with newer laws underway because of the new ways of doing business, adding that the digital economy and tax authorities are going digital by adopting digital tax administration.
Speaking in Lagos at the 2021 Nigeria e-Government Summit, organized by Digiserve, Nami, who was represented by Lead, Digital Support Group, FIRS, Chiaka Ben-Obi, said for any organisation, institution, or government to gain from the benefits of ICT, technology must be implemented and used effectively. He said this is why the transformation to use ICT to provide services by the government is slowly gaining traction across the world.
The FIRS boss informed that Nigeria has had to increase income through taxation from other sources, other than oil, amidst dwindling oil prices. He recalled that since 2015, FIRS’ revenue generating capability in the non-oil sectors of the economy has improved immensely and technological advancement has played a key role in ensuring and sustaining this performance.
Among the benefits of adopting eGovernment framework in FIRS, include online filing of taxes by taxpayers, easy remittance of taxes by taxpayers, accountability in tax administration, improved service delivery to taxpayers, increased revenue among others. In terms of challenges, Nami said there is need for speedy revision and implementation of legislation to support the MDAs in achieving its target; having to deal with multiple vendors and systems – no single off-the-shelf solution; technology investment is expensive to procure and maintain, among others.
In his keynote address, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, who was represented by the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management at NCC, Adewolu Adeleke, said governments would function more effectively through the adoption of ICT that would lead to the provision of speedy access to automated services in order to make public welfare services available to all citizens. “The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has been working assiduously with all stakeholders to deepen penetration of broadband infrastructure and services, which support the growth of e-governance and other critical digital economy objectives throughout Nigeria,” Danbatta said.
The Executive Chairman, DigiServe, Lanre Ajayi, in his opening remarks, said technology service providers were not engaging government enough and that they were not coming up with adequate technology solutions that would enhance the delivery of e-government services to the citizens. He said: “Those who suffer most from the lack of sufficient government engagement are the Nigerian citizens, because citizens no longer get quality service delivery from the government. Citizens are not getting quality service from the government because technologies are not efficiently deployed in government service deliveries. In order to bridge the gap, DigiServe decided to use its e-Government Summit platform to bring together government and technology services providers to share experience on the way forward.”
The Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, who was represented by a senior management staff at NITDA, Dr. Vincent Olatunji, said NITDA was able to develop several policies and frameworks that were driven by technology to seamlessly connect the Nigerian citizens in order to enhance e-government service delivery. He said NITDA would continue to develop ideas that would not stifle regulation of the ICT sector. According to him, NITDA would continue to support the reduction of cost of technology deployment in the country, especially as it affects the cost of Right of Ways (RoWs) in service delivery.