By Oladipupo Mojeed
A tax expert, Morenike Babington-Ashaye has called on Nigerians to demand accountability, transparency and good governance over the administration of the taxes they pay.
The former chairman of Ogun State Internal Revenue Service said this could be achieved through regular public sensitisation that would help in enlightening citizens on the importance of participating in governance.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lagos, Babington-Ashaye said that Nigerians need to be more involved in governance.
The founder, Accounting Education and Research Services (ACCERS) stressed that Nigerians should ensure that all structures, processes and procedures that could engender good governance were put in place.
She also said that Nigeria as a country endowed with natural and human resources has no business with poverty.
“We are blessed, so wonderfully blessed by God and with natural and human resources, we ought to be the envy of all nations.”
She said that no one had the right to waste or misuse taxpayer’s money since government funds were people’s property.
The tax expert pointed out that Nigerians’ constant involvement in the governance, tax process and procedures would allow taxpayers hold the government accountable.
According to her, estimates show that the running costs of government at the three tiers had taken up to 70 to 80 percent of revenue at the disposal of the government.
“As a result, due to the limited remaining funds, public amenities such as the availability of potable water, good roads, functioning schools and public hospitals are like luxuries.
“This, in turn, impacts negatively on society, as we see more and more Nigerians unable to afford the necessities of life.”
She said that the provision of social welfare programmes aimed at the eradication of poverty was also necessary and not an act of charity, but an obligation on the government.
Babington-Ashaye said transparency and accountability were two important words that play a role in building trust in government at all levels.