Let me start by thanking the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, for instituting the National Tax Dialogue.

2.​I note with great pleasure that the 2021 National Tax Dialogue was very productive. It is particularly gratifying that some of the outcomes of that 1st edition influenced tax policy, legislative and administrative changes that were introduced in 2021.

3.​The most important testament to the success of the National Tax Dialogue is the fact that the FIRS achieved 100% of collection target in 2021 and surpassed N6 trillion revenue threshold for the very first time. Many congratulations to the management of FIRS.

4.​Certainly, the 1st edition of the National Tax Dialogue was a good foundation on which subsequent editions would be judged.  

5.​The National Tax Dialogue is a useful tool for navigating our path towards a stable and sustainable domestic revenue mobilisation. The government must succeed at securing a buoyant domestic revenue base for the country; that is one way of bequeathing enduring economic foundation, political stability and social harmony to the next generation.

6.​The theme of this year’s dialogue is “Tax Harmonisation for Enhanced Revenue Generation”. This is a very important topic considering the urgent need to maximise domestic revenue within the extant tax policy and laws; particularly in the face of dwindling revenues from commodities.

7.​Taxation is a sovereign tool for perpetuating an organised society, peace, development and growth. However, there is limited space for governments to impose new taxes. As such, Nigeria must operate efficient tax administration in order to fully unlock her revenue potentials.

8.​Our current tax system is characterised by fragmented administration, and multiple (and sometimes, overlapping) taxes. In most tax-efficient nations, tax administrative processes and practices are harmonised within a single system.

9.​One key deliverable of this year’s tax dialogue is to promote synergy in tax administration among the different tiers of government. Harmonising taxpayer identification across the country is a good start; but we must do more to promote ease of doing business (including ease of tax compliance) in Nigeria.

10.​On our part, we have started by clarifying in the 2021 Finance Act that FIRS is the sole authority to administer tax for the Federal Government. This clarification became necessary in order to avoid taxpayers being burdened with multiple tax compliance obligations towards different agencies of the same government. Multiplicity of tax administration is as undesirable as multiplicity of taxes; it creates uncertainty and instability; and above all, it is inefficient.

11.​According to the OECD, in its Revenue Statistics in Africa 2021, the average ratio of Tax-to-GDP of 30 selected African countries in 2019 was 16.6% while Nigeria recorded a mere 6.0%. It is obvious that much needs to be done in the area of tax revenue mobilisation. It is my expectation that the discussions at this 2022 National Tax Dialogue will be focused on what we must do to maximise legitimate revenue collection and massively improve the Tax-to-GDP ratio.

12.​We all know that good intentions are not enough as they simply cannot pay for infrastructure, security or social amenities. We must therefore improve tax revenue without necessarily raising new taxes. Revenue from commodities, including crude oil, are too volatile and unreliable. Therefore, I pledge government’s support for any viable initiative for improving tax revenue that should emanate from this dialogue.

13.​I assure every Nigeria of our government’s continued commitment to the rule of law, transparency, accountability and ease of doing business. The government shall continue to maintain prudent management of our collective resources.

12.​I wish to commend the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the Executive Chairman, FIRS and all stakeholders for the concerted efforts to reposition the tax system for maximum efficiency.

14.​I hereby declare the 2nd National Tax Dialogue, 2022 open.

15.​Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.