ANNUAL TAX CONFERENCE 2017

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ANNUAL TAX CONFERENCE 2017

The Annual Tax Conference has continued to be the largest gathering of Chartered Tax Practitioners and Tax Administrators locally and internationally. It has always created an avenue for participants to share professional ideas, not only on taxation issues but also on related national issues that are necessary for the attainment and sustenance of vibrant socio-economic development. This forum has also provided an avenue for decision makers in government and the organized private sector to make objective and feasible decisions when faced with the reality of making fundamental micro or macro-economic decisions.
The 19th Annual Tax Conference of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, held between the 17th and 20th May, 2017 at the Green Legacy Resort, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.
The 2017 conference was themed “Taxation and Governance: The Social Contract Imperatives”.
Day 1
On the 17th day of May, the members of Tax club sponsored by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) converged for the trip to Abeokuta. The takeoff point was the FIRS Head office at Agidingbi. Upon arrival at Abeokuta, we were immediately situated in our hotel rooms to freshen up and participate in the hospitality night. However, we made an early departure to prepare our team for the quiz competition which was the next day.
Day 2
The second day was the official day of the conference. The day was earmarked for the technical session of the conference. The event was graced by various dignitaries and notable personalities of the tax world and most importantly, the Governor of Ogun State marking the first time a sitting Governor will be attending the Annual Tax Conference.
The technical session of the conference was opened with the first paper delivery bothering on the topic “Alignment of appropriate tax policy options with economic realities: The essence of business oriented and timely inventions” delivered by Prof. Ntiedo Umoren who is the first professor of decision sciences in Nigeria and the immediate past dean of the Faculty of Business Administration, Univeristy of Uyo.
The paper delivered by Prof Ntiedo examined how qualitative and effective tax policies can enhance a better socio-economic environment for the benefit of the Nigerian masses. The speaker made an observation on how tax policies are crafted without significant input from the Nigerian masses. This I beg to differ, National Tax Policy committee headed by Prof Abiola Sanni pushed some recommendations forward towards tackling the everyday problems the Nigerian Masses face regarding taxation which has been the bulk of the comment of the masses as regards the administration and remittance of taxation. Some of such recommendation include,
1. Lower Tax rate and VAT Compliance threshold for Small and Medium scale enterprise.
2. Ensuring that there is only one revenue agency for every level of government.
3. Ensuring that taxes are duly and effectively accounted for.
It is obviously clear that these recommendations are crafted based on the feedback of the citizens which may serve as the citizens input.
The second paper of the day on the issue “Psychology of the Tax Payer and Voluntary Tax Compliance” delivered by Dr Frank Jacobs.
The paper on Psychology of the taxpayer and voluntary tax compliance aimed at considering psychological determinants at ensuring tax compliance. The paper canvasses the use of certain psychological factors such as trust, increased social economic projects at ensuring tax compliance. It was identified that the social contract imperatives will begin to work if the government can win the trust of the citizens by ensuring that public goods such as health, education, security are provided. There is no doubt that this assertion is watertight in light of recent development that is being noticed in Lagos state. The increased social economic projects within the state has no doubt aroused the interest of the citizens within the state to perform their civil obligation of tax payment.
The third paper on “Taxation and Governance: The Social Contract Imperatives” was delivered by Dr. Muritala Awodun the pioneer executive chairman of the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS).
The third paper taxation and governance: the social contract imperatives focuses on the basic roles of the government in the society. It also aimed at checking if the actions and activities of the government to tax payers can be said to establish a social contact relationship.
The fourth paper on “Taxation and infrastructural developments in Nigeria” was delivered by Mr. Ayodele Hamzat Subair, the Executive chairman, Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS).
The paper presented by the Executive Chairman of the LIRS focused on the importance of infrastructural provisions with the end result of increased tax revenue collectible as a result of high economic activity level. The message passed across by this beautiful presentation remains that the availability of infrastructure in Nigeria will encourage investment in Nigeria and by that the government will generate higher revenue by levying tax in the newly established industries and companies. This is only possible if the government create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive. This indeed remains an incontestable fact.
The last paper of the day was on “Budgets and open Governments: the quest for transparency and accountability” was delivered by Pastor Ben Akabueze. The paper sought to understand the processes and avenues through which citizens are able to participate in the budgetary process and access information on its level of implementation. The truth must be told that budgetary implementation process and contract allocation are not open for public knowledge despite the open contracting Data standard introduced by the president upon joining open government partnership (OGP) initiative. Efforts must therefore be made to ensure that stakeholders are involved in budgetary process either directly and indirectly. This is will go a long way in achieving open and transparent government.
In summary, the papers were presented during the various plenary sessions by various panels consisting of tax experts and professionals. Afterwards the program was brought to a close by the President of the CITN, Dr. Olateju Somorin and then we proceeded to the Tax Quiz competition.
The event ended with the annual quiz competition which was won by the University of Lagos participant and member of The Tax Club, Mr Gabriel Aliu.
Day 3
The day was allocated to sightseeing and other tourist attractions within the capital. However, the members of the University of Lagos team decided to celebrate one of our own, Mr Gabriel. Aliu who was marking his birthday on that day. When the night fell, we attended the gala night and award ceremony held at the Green Legacy Resort the Gala night was spectacular, and it featured the renowned Gbenga Adeyinka as the Master of Ceremony, and Chief Ebenezer Obey as the guest performer. The prize of the winner of the Tax Quiz competition was presented. This was particularly enjoyable because of the rigorous team work put into the preparations for the quiz competition by delegates from the Tax Club, UNILAG.
It was a thrilling and fabulous event filled with grace and glamour where various districts and personalities were rewarded for their extraordinary achievements. Finally, we retired to our rooms.
Day 4
We returned to Lagos.
]We would like to thank the sponsors of the University of Lagos Tax Club for the opportunity to experience such a ground breaking event. It was an unforgettable experience.

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