The Nigeria’s Presidential Tax and Fiscal Policy Reform Committee has proposed the employment of local thugs as tax officers in a bid to reduce street violence in the country.
The Chairman of the Committee, Taiwo Ayodele said training the thugs known in local parlance as Agbero or Area Boys will also create job opportunities for the youths.
“One of the things we are proposing is to train area boys as tax officers. You know, these are people who are already on the streets, they know the terrain, they know the people, they know the businesses.
“So, instead of them being a nuisance, why don’t we train them, give them some skills, and then pay them decent salaries to collect taxes for us? And then they will forsake their old ways and become productive members of society,” he said.
In an exclusive interview with Channels Television last weekend, Ayodele lamented that out of over 20 recommendations made by the committee, only three have been fully implemented.
He noted the main instrument for implementing the reforms is the Emergency Economic Intervention Bill, which seeks to amend 15 laws and introduce changes that will benefit the people, especially the small businesses and the poor.
“The bill will help to stabilise prices, reduce costs, provide relief, ease the burden of taxation, and boost foreign exchange. He added that the bill will also harmonise the fiscal, monetary, and trade policies of the government”, he said.
Oyedele added that the committee was awaiting the Federal Executive Council to approve the bill and send it to the National Assembly, which he hoped will pass it “as a matter of urgency.”
He said; “We have looked at the issue of multiple taxation from different angles. One is from the constitutional angle, what are the taxes that the federal government can collect, what are the taxes that the state government can collect, and what are the taxes that the local government can collect?
“From the practical angle, what are the taxes that are actually being collected, and what are the ones that are not being collected? And then we have also looked at it from the international best practices angle.
“And then we have come up with a framework to harmonise all these and make sure that we have a simplified and efficient tax system that will not be a burden on the taxpayers.”