Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Fourth Public Presentation of Findings of the Afrobarometer Round 5 (R5) Surveys In Nigeria. Theme: TOWARDS PUTTING TAX RETURNS ON PUBLIC RECORDS IN NIGERIA.



Afrobarometer is a series of public attitude surveys conducted in 35 African Countries during the Round 5. It measures public perception and attitude to issues of governance, democracy and development and evaluates the quality of governance and economic performance in Africa. The survey articulates the views of Africans on critical issues in the surveyed countries and provides comparisons over time and across African countries. Four rounds of the surveys have been conducted and published from 1999 to 2010 and Round 5 (2011-2013) was recently concluded and currently being disseminated. Afrobarometer’s work in Africa is coordinated by the Center for Democratic Development CDD-Ghana and in Nigeria by the CLEEN Foundation. The fieldwork for Round 5 was conducted in Nigeria from 29th October to 30th November in 2012 and interviewed 2,400 adult Nigerians.

This release highlights aspects of the survey findings focusing on public attitude to tax and taxation in Nigeria. 
Finding 1: Afrobarometer Round 5 survey indicate that majority of respondents (75%) were proud to be called Nigerians

In general, the survey findings indicate that three of every four Nigerians (75%) are proud to be called Nigerians The survey also suggests that four  of every five Nigerians (80%) are usually very careful when dealing with other people and only nearly only one in seven citizens (15%) believe that most people could be trusted.  Furthermore, the survey indicate that nearly two-third of Nigerians (63%) are interested in discussing public affairs. Finally, on general attitudes, slightly more than four out of every five Nigerians (85%) hold the view that it is necessary to obey the laws of the land regardless of whom they voted for, while (14%) believe that it is not necessary to obey the laws of a government that they did not vote for.
What we see from this dataset is a high level of identification with the country in terms of national pride, willingness to obey government laws as well as interest in public affairs. However, this trend is being offset by a high level of mutual distrust among citizens.  
Finding 2: Majority of Nigerians (89%) say they had never refused to pay taxes to government authorities, only (6%) said they had refused paying once or twice and (2%) said they do not know

The survey findings indicate a willingness on the part of majority of Nigerians to pay tax, given that nearly nine in ten of them (89%) said that had never refused to pay tax. Only 6% of them admitted that they had defaulted at least once on tax.  Furthermore, slightly more than one in two of the respondents indicated that they would pay higher taxes to ensure that more services were provided by government while 43% said they would rather pay lower taxes, even if it meant fewer public services provided. On Value added Tax (VAT), 51% of respondents believed they were not required to pay VAT on goods purchased from shops or traders in the country, while 42% believe they are required to pay.  The survey further revealed that 46% of respondents believed that they are required to pay property rates or taxes even if they were unable to pay while another 45% believed that they are not required to pay. Most respondents (66%) thought that tax authorities have the right to make people pay taxes and only 22% disagreed. The survey also revealed that majority of Nigerians (65%) share the view that citizens must pay their taxes to develop the country, while 35% held the view that government could find enough resources for development from other sources without taxing the citizens.
These findings indicate that majority of Nigerians are willing to pay their taxes. However, more than half of the respondents believe that they are not required to pay VAT for purchase of goods and services, indicating low public knowledge about the VAT system in Nigeria.  There is therefore an urgent need for tax education and enlightenment in Nigeria, especially the range of goods and services that require payment of VAT.
Finding 3: Majority of Nigerians, (58percent) said most tax officials, like the Federal Inland Revenue Service officials or the Local Government tax collectors are involved in corruption.           

The high level of corruption noted in the activities of public institutions in Nigeria was also observed in the work of tax authorities at the federal, state and local levels. Nearly all the respondents (95%) believed that tax authorities at various levels are involved in corruption. This is made up of 58% who believe that all of them/most of them are involved and 37% who believe that some of them are involved.  Unsurprisingly, only 3% of the respondents trust the Federal Inland Revenue Service a lot. However 44% trust the FIRS “a little” and 20% trust it “somewhat”.  Furthermore, slightly more than 4 in 5 (82%) of the respondents  held the view that  it is difficult to monitor how government use the taxes it collects and only 11% said tax usage is easy to monitor while and 7% said they did not know.
Here the responses indicate citizen discontent with the tax system in Nigeria. Findings suggest that the willingness of citizens to pay taxes is influenced by a number of factors including level of trust in the tax authorities, effectiveness of media reporting on corruption, transparency in the use of public funds and also the level of poverty in the land. For the tax authorities to be effective in the discharge of their duties there is need to address these citizen concerns and make the tax system in Nigeria more transparent and accountable.

For more information, visit us online at www.afrobarometer.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. facebooktwitter @Afrobarometer.
For further information on Afrobarometer Nigeria, please contact CLEEN Foundation at cleen@cleen.org
Phone: +234 - 01 - 7612479






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