FTM Report Nigeria 2019

Nigeria’s tax collection performance is very poor at the moment. Tax revenues make up just 5-6% of GDP, which is remarkably low for a country with one of the biggest economies of the continent and also by comparison to neighboring countries. Especially non-oil revenues have much potential to increase: they only make up 3-4% of GDP. The dependence on oil revenues makes Nigeria vulnerable to the volatility of oil prices and explains the drop in total tax revenues when oil prices took a nosedive around 2014-2016. However, this means that the potential to increase tax revenues is very high. Recently, the government has made an attempt to expand the tax base by implementing the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS). This has been quite successful: 6 million taxpayers have been added, totaling 19.3 million taxpayers in 2018. Still, this is extremely low for the country with 77 million taxable people. Also, despite the relative success, tax amnesty programs like VAIDS can have questionable mid- & long-term effects such as providing an incentive for tax evasion, putting compliant taxpayers in a worse position and reducing tax morale – which would be counterproductive. According to a Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) survey conducted executive summary in 2018 the low tax morale has multiple reasons, including the lack of trust in tax officials and a lack of information on tax.