FOwler, FIRS boss
FIRS boss, Tunde Fowler/File

The Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group and Oxfam International have said the soft handling of wealthy people by the government is why they do not pay tax as much as they ought to.

This news medium understands that this statement was made by both bodies in a multi-stakeholder dialogue in Lagos.

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According to the Programme Officer, Public-Private Sector Transparency and Accountability Officer, Oxfam International, Henry Ushie, the government need to intensify efforts to get wealthy people to pay taxes.

“In retrieving taxes, I think the government has been soft on the rich but that is not the same with the poor,” he said.

“These rich people, including the multinationals, always find a way within the law to evade tax.

“Our system also allows these big companies to operate for some years without paying a dime. It will not be wrong to say the government has not been proactive on tax collection.”

He added that “We have only explored 20 per cent of those who are taxable, which means 80 per cent is still untaxed. We should be able to bring these people into the tax net.”

However, he advised that “if we can harmonise our scattered database systems, we can track everyone who is taxable through their Bank Verification Number or other means.”