Tax Reforms And Revenue Generation In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Economics

Tax Reforms And Revenue Generation In Nigeria


The research provides a conceptual and analytical appraisal of tax reforms and revenue generation. The study seek to determine the effectiveness of tax reform policy toward achieving high revenue to government and public utility. It analyses the concept of taxation, types and significance. The result showed that, on trend, between 1999 and 2005, there was no noticeable increase in revenue generated from tax; but from 2006, there was a sharp, steady and noticeable increase in the tax revenue generated. On the pattern of tax administration in the state, from 2006 the state concentrated more on tax reforms with less dependence on other sources of internal revenue generation. The result further revealed that there was a long run relationship between the tax reforms and revenue generated in Lagos State; thus, the tax reforms had positive and significant effect on the revenue structure of the State. The study concluded that tax reforms had significantly contributed to revenue generation in Lagos State, which had enabled the state to carry her responsibilities to the citizenry with less reliance on the Federal Government.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

The political, economic and social development of any country depends on the amount of revenue generated for the provision of infrastructure in that given country. Governments require revenue to augment the spending needs to maintain an adequate level of public investment and social services. Taxes are the main source of raising revenue in both developed and developing countries like Nigeria (Aizenman and Jinjarak, 2008; Saeed and Sheikh, 2011). Nigeria as a developing country has a very low tax to GDP ratio which is attributable to narrow tax base, inelastic tax system, complex tax laws, complex network of exemptions and tax incentives, weak tax administration and weak mobilization of provincial taxes (Aregbeyen and Fasanya, 2013). This situation is being strained by the oil revenue which accounts for about 80 percent of government revenue. The large size of Nigeria’s tax gap suggests that increasing the country’s tax effort in an equitable and efficient way requires reforms of both tax policy and tax administration. One of the major objectives of the Administration in Lagos State, in 1999, was to optimize the State’s tax potentials by achieving a very substantial, if not total, coverage of its taxpayer base. In simple terms, to bring all taxable persons into the tax net. To actualize this goal, the administration initiated the State’s Tax
Administration reform process. As part of the re-engineering process the tax payment process was reviewed and all payments to the Board were to be made directly to designated revenue collecting banks by the tax payers.

Payments into the Government coffers were electronically linked to data bases that issued electronic receipt to taxpayers and closely monitored by an independent consultant to the State. Personal electronic tax clearance cards (e-TCC) were introduced for the first time in Nigeria and indeed in Africa. Tax collection was made more transparent to the taxpayers as they could access their records via the internet, and this made tax payments, more convenient and transparent to the taxpaying public.

At the same time the government did comprehensive review of activities and events over the past years to look into the past process and revenue generation activities of the Board. This led to the appointment of new management in November 2005. At the introduction of the new Board, the position of the Chairman was upgraded to that of a Permanent Secretary, reporting directly to the Executive Governor. Some staff of the Board who could not fit into the vision of the new Board were redeployed to other Ministries within the Civil Service.

Other expectations of the Nigerian tax system according to the Presidential Committee on National tax policy (2008) include;

  1. Encourage economic growth and development.
  2. Generate stable revenue or resources needed by government to accomplish loadable projects and or investment for the benefit of the people
  3. Provide economic stabilization.
  4. To pursue fairness and distributive equity
  5. Correction of market failure and imperfection.

In an attempt to fulfill the above expectation, the national tax policy is expected to be in compliance with the principle of taxation, the lubricant to effective tax system. The Nigerian tax system has been flawed by what is termed multiplicity of tax and collecting entities at the three tiers of government levels – Federal, State and Local government (Ahunwan, 2009).

According to the report of the presidential committee on National Tax policy (2008), Tax policy formulation in Nigeria is the responsibility of the Federal inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Customs, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), National Population Commission (NPC), and other agencies but under the guidance of the National Assembly i.e. the law making body in Nigeria (Presidential committee on National tax policy, 2008). Suffice it to say that if there must be any effective implementation of the Nigerian tax system or attainment of its goal, the use of the national tax policy document remain absolutely essential. According to the Presidential Committee on tax policy (2008), “Nigeria needs a tax policy which does not only describe the set of guiding rules and principles, but also provide a stable point of reference for all the stakeholders in the country and upon which they can be held accountable. James and Nobes (2008) decried the inability of tax policy to meet up with efficiency and equity criteria against which it is being judged. It was further noted that tax policy is continually subjected to pressure and changes which most time does not guarantee outcome that are in line with the overall goal (James and Nobes 2008). Unfortunately, most policy changes in Nigeria are without adequate consideration of the taxpayers, administrative arrangement and cost plus the existing taxes. This has in no small measure hindered the effective implementation and goal congruence of the nation’s tax system. Citing (Bird and Oldman 1990), James and Nobes (2008) stated as follows “

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The problem confronting this research is to determine the nature of tax reforms and its impact on revenue generation in Nigeria, applying a longitudinal analysis.There is a general lack of consensus among scholars on the contribution of tax revenue to the economic growth of nations. For instance, whereas Ariyo (1997) in his study on productivity of the Nigerian tax system documented a satisfactory level of productivity of the tax system before the oil boom, Festus and Samuel (2007) established that the role of tax revenue in promoting economic activities and growth is not felt in Nigeria. The two studies reflect that the oil boom has not improved the economic state of the country since before the boom, there was a level satisfactory and after the boom, the growth of economic activities deteriorated. The emergence of oil as a major tax revenue is one of the means a country‘s government devises in solving the economic problems of the country and to enhance government expenditure which isexpected to be beneficial to the citizens of such country through the provision of social and economic infrastructures (Adereti et al 2011). In Nigeria, this has not been the case because despite the tax revenue and expenditure reported year in year out by the government, the physical state of the nation in terms of infrastructure and social amenities is backward.

This is evident in the lack of electricity supply, portable drinking water, basic health care delivery, bad roads, just to mention but a few. The gap in terms of the period covered is also a contributory factor to the disparity in the outcomes of relationship between tax revenue and an economy. The advent of the oil boom encouraged some laxity in the management of non-oil revenue sources like the company income tax and custom and excise duties. This calls for an urgent need in the improvement of the tax system to enhance the evaluation of the performance and facilitate adequate macroeconomic planning and implementation (Adereti et al 2011).

1.3 Objective of the Study

  1. To determine the nature of tax reform in Nigeria
  2. To determine the effectiveness of tax reform policy towards revenue generation to government.
  3. To investigate the impact of value added tax on the growth of the economy of Nigeria.

1.4 Statement of Hypothesis

  1. H0: Tax revenue generation in Nigeria is high
    H1: Tax revenue generation in Nigeria is low
  2. H0: Challenges to tax revenue generation in Nigeria is low
    H2: Challenges to tax revenue generation in Nigeria is high
  3. H0: The impact of tax reform on revenue generation is low
    H3: The impact of tax reform on revenue generation is high

1.5 Significance of the Study

The study shall analyze tax reform policy and determine its effectiveness towards revenue generation to government.It shall also serve as a source of information on issues of tax reforms in Nigeria. This study is contemporaneous, that is, timely, because of the urgent need for ethnic groups, policy makers and implementers to understand the nature, scope and dynamics of the current agitation for resource control and practice qf true federalism. Also, the study relates to practical problems of Nigerian corporate existence, and it affects over 60 per cent of the population who are marginalized, deprived, alienated, neglected and dissatisfied with the current revenue sharing formula and federal structure. The study will help to guide and sharpen the focus of the Buhari government on its option for “political solution” to the issues of resource control in face of Supreme Court verdict. And in many ways, it will complement the theoretical platforms that had been erected in books on federalism. It will be a useful literature in understanding the struggle for resource control. Finally, the topic is unique, sensitive and controversial in the allocation of revenues between federal and the states, as it will illuminate gray areas.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The scope of this study covers tax reforms revenue generation in Nigeria over a period of 31 years (from 1981-2010). The trend of Company Income tax, Petroleum profit tax, Customs and excise duty and Value added tax are examined for the period to determine their correlation with the Nigerian economy which will be captured as Gross Domestic Product(GDP). The focus will be based on data obtained at the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).In the cause of the study, the researcher encounters some limitations which limited the scope of the study;

Time Constraint:

The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

Inadequate Materials:

Scarcity of material is also another hindrance. The researcher finds it difficult to long hands in several required material which could contribute immensely to the success of this research work.

Financial Constraint:

Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

1.7 Definition of Terms

Tax reform:

Tax reform is the process of changing the way taxes are collected or managed by the government and is usually undertaken to improve tax administration or to provide economic or social benefits. Tax reform can include reducing the level of taxation of all people by the government, making the tax system more progressive or less progressive, or simplifying the tax system and making the system more understandable or more accountable.


In accounting, revenue is the income that a business has from its normal business activities, usually from the sale of goods and services to customers. Revenue is also referred to as sales or turnover. Some companies receive revenue from interest, royalties, or other fees.


Mobilization, in military terminology, is the act of assembling and readying troops and supplies for war. The word mobilization was first used, in a military context, to describe the preparation of the Russian army during the 1850s and 1860s. Mobilization theories and techniques have continuously changed since then. The opposite of mobilization is demobilization.

Revenue Allocation:

Revenue allocation is the distribution or division of total income, or revenue, in a business, corporate or government structure. It involves a complex process that entails how and where to allocate revenues in order to ensure the viability of departments and maintain the operating structure of the organization.

Revenue Generation:

These are the various ways in which local governments or organizational sources their income. Local government can either generate their income internally or externally. Revenue generation is a very important tool to every organization or local government, because this determines its survival.


The term ‘’fund’’ can be defined, as the amount of money or resources which has been made available for particular progrmmes or projects in the local government or organization.

1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  • Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five

Summary Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is pertinent to note that this research was aimed at assessing the contributions of tax reforms to economic growth and stability, thus the topic “tax reforms revenue generation in Nigeria”.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations were made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges associated with tax reforms revenue generation in Nigeria.

5.2 Summary

This study showed that tax reforms had experienced unprecedented progress since its initiation in 1999. Through the reforms, Lagos State had been able to capture more people into the net as there was continuous increase in taxpayers’ cumulative growth. For each year, the growth rate was more than 20% taxpayer growth. The increase in the number of taxpayers over the years suggest that the process as well as time and payment style has been administered correctly, and which may be attributed to the reason that the public are getting the reward of their money through the provision of social amenities in developing the State. It was also found that the chief source of revenue generation in Lagos State is the internally generated revenue (IGR) in which tax revenue constitute the bulk. The study summarized that the tax reforms had a positive impact on revenue generation in Lagos State.

Since the primary function of a tax system is to generate revenue, the first goal of tax reform must be to ensure that this function is discharged adequately. Clearly, improving the revenue performance will require a major improvement in tax administration, increase in the level of employment, and reduction in tax exemptions and corruption. Further adjustments in tax rates are not necessary at the moment (or in the medium term). Effort should be directed to improving tax collection and reducing corruption, improving welfare through employment generation and other poverty reduction strategies.

5.3 Conclusion

Tax reforms and revenue generation helps in improving and sustaining a nation’s economy, also it helps in the provision of social amenities, economy and above all it regulate the supply of money. However, taxation contributes positively in the areas ofpromotion of employment and correction of balance of payment deficit.

Ultimately, taxation has not only contributed to the Federal Government only but has become an important instrument in regulating most economic activities and has been an instrument for control of money in circulation. In view of this, taxpayers must be persuaded to pay their taxes regularly. With the present policy of liberalization of the Nigeria Economy being vigorously pursued by the Federal Government, Nigeria is fast becoming an investor’s haven albeit with a few teething problems what is required for the foreign investor however a careful approach to the following area is:

  • Proper enterprise set-up
  • Procurement of necessary permits and approvals
  • Access to the best professional advice.

5.4 Recommendation

The following recommendations are hereby presented by the researchers which he feels will help in tax reforms and development of the Nigeria Economy in order to reflect to increase in standard of living and economy development.

  1. Lagos State Government should put in place measures that could enhance tax collection such as winning public confidence through improved service delivery and government payment (for goods and services); making the tax procedures simple and transparent and improving on taxpayers’ education; effective use of automated systems especially in the clearing system and monitoring refund claims; and strengthening tax administration including staff investigative machinery and human resource management capability.
  2. Furthermore, the fiscal policy makers in the state should re-evaluate the tax policy reforms and see where the problem arose from so as make room for improvement as there is a gradual decline in the taxpayer’s growth rate in recent time. Also, other states in Nigeria can borrow a leaf form Lagos State tax reforms as this will enable them to perform their responsibilities to their citizenry with less reliance on the Federal Government.
  3. That if an increase or decrease in tax is anticipated income and expenses should accelerated or deferred accordingly.
  4. Government should endeavor to utilize the proceeded realized from taxation on the provision of social amenities in order to reach the vicious circles of poverty (the gap between the rich and the poor) and standardized the cost of living and promote the standard of living.

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