By Emmanuel Adeleke
President Bola Tinubu has named the fiscal policy partner and Africa tax leader at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Taiwo Oyedele, as the chairman, Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms.
A statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, Dele Alake, said the decision was in consonance with Tinubu’s promise to remove all barriers impeding business growth in Nigeria.
According to Alake, the committee will comprise experts from both the private and public sectors and have responsibility for the various aspects of tax law reform, fiscal policy design and coordination, harmonisation of taxes and revenue administration.
Speaking, the Special Adviser to the President on Revenue, Mr Zacch Adedeji, said the president recognises the importance of a sound fiscal policy environment and an effective taxation system for the functioning of the government and the economy.
”Nigeria ranks very low on the global ease of paying taxes while the country’s Tax to GDP ratio is one of the lowest in the world and well below the African average.
”This has led to an overreliance on borrowing to finance public spending which in turn limits the fiscal space as debt service costs consume a greater portion of government revenue, annually resulting in a vicious cycle of inadequate funding for socio-economic development.
”While some incremental progress has been recorded over the years, the outcomes have not been transformative enough to change the narrative,” he said.
Adedeji outlined the key challenges in Nigeria’s tax system to include multiple taxes and revenue collection agencies, fragmented and complex tax system, low tax morale, high prevalence of tax evasion, high cost of revenue administration, lack of coordination between fiscal and economic policies and poor accountability in the utilisation of tax revenue.
“The establishment of this committee reflects President Tinubu’s commitment to addressing these challenges and bringing about transformative reforms in fiscal policy and taxation.
“The committee’s primary objective is to enhance revenue collection efficiency, ensure transparent reporting and promote the effective utilisation of tax and other revenues to boost citizens’ tax morale, foster a healthy tax culture and drive voluntary compliance.
“These efforts will not only improve Nigeria’s revenue profile but also create a more conducive and internationally-competitive business environment.
”Our aim is to transform the tax system to support sustainable development and achieve a minimum of 18% Tax to GDP ratio within the next three years without stifling investment or economic growth.
”It should be noted that this committee will not only advise the government on necessary reforms, but will also drive the implementation of such recommendations in support of the comprehensive fiscal policy and tax reform agenda of the current administration,” Adedeji added.
Oyedele is said to be a highly accomplished professional with extensive expertise in fiscal policy, taxation and economic matters. He currently serves as PWC Africa tax leader.
He is the Thematic Lead for the Fiscal Policy & Planning Commission and serves as Chairman of the West Africa Debt Management Roundtable of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG).
He chairs the Taxation & Fiscal Policy Faculty Board of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and is a member of the Nigerian Taxation Standards Board.
He also serves as a member of the Ministerial Committee on the implementation of Nigeria’s National Tax Policy.
He is a member of the Global Tax Forum and has previously served as a member of the Global Governing Council of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
As an educator, Oyedele holds the position of Associate Professor at Babcock University Business School.
He is an alumnus of the London School of Economics & Political Science, Yale University and Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education. He is a guest lecturer at the Lagos Business School and the Founder and President of Impact Africa Foundation.