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The Kuje Town Hall Meeting Abuja

The Kuje community town hall meeting was conducted on the 7th of December 2017 at the Kuje Township Hall, Kuje Area Council, Abuja, FCT. The meeting was structured based on the same objectives as the Kaduna PPD. Stakeholders were mapped and invited. Additionally, the PPD Abuja added a door to door enlightenment inside the Kuje market. Like the Kaduna TownHallmeeting, ThePPDstartedwithawelcome addressbytheFollowtaxes leadvolunteer Abuja, Kabir Usman. Who called on the participants to note the importance of the event and why everybody was invited. He stressed to the participants that, everybody in the hall is assumed to be equal and everybody has the right to be heard. He told the market associations to prepare all the questions they asked him when he went to invite them and ask them now because the right people that can answer their questions are present. He also told the tax authorities (Federal Inland Revenue Service) to prepare answers as the meetings are meant to answer every question, clarify every miss giving and guide the taxpayers on their rights and obligations. The lead volunteer then invites the co-founder of FollowTaxes, Mr. Saied Tafida Sulaiman to further define the purpose of the gathering and to open the floor for discussion.

Highlights of the contributions at the PPD
i. Co-founder of Followtaxes

The Co-founder buttressed the point that the PPD is meant among other things to provide government authorities, taxpayers and professionals with a platform to clarify the mandates of their agencies; sensitize citizens on its Annual targets and performance; to ask relevant questions on processes and procedures and to voice out challenges and advice on ways out

so as to enhance transparency and collective ownership. The gathering will also look at the role of taxation in Budgets and the wellbeing of citizens.

ii. The Representative of Market Associations.

Mr. Benjamin Audu, the representative of the market associations at the town-hall meeting applauded the initiative and affirmed the support of the market associations to activities like this. Which he said are the missing gaps in effective governance in his community. He buttressed his points by narrating a scenario that happened between one of their members and some “so-called” staff of the revenue authorities. A disagreement that led to a fight and the involvement of the security agents. He said if opportunities like this exist, there would not have to be any disagreement let alone a fight that may lead to the sealing of shops. He said his people will always love to pay taxes if they are made to understand what they are supposed to pay. Inhis words “not that after we finish paying this one, we will be told to pay another one again,without clear explanations on what we are paying”. He also added that it will also go a long way if they can see what they have paid in action. He concluded by saying that, they will appreciate a great deal if the tax authorities will open to them for direct interactions and engagements even after this event so that as questions on taxes emerge, they will have a quick room for redress, rather than letting it become relatively complicated.

iii. The Representative of Federal Inland Revenue Service

The Federal Inland Revenue Service was represented by the Zonal Coordinator, Abuja, and the Head of the Federal Enlightenment and Engagement Team (FEET) Abuja and their teams.
The Head of the delegation showed her appreciation for such wonderful efforts by a civil society organization to bring together tax authorities and taxpayers to discuss issues that will improve understanding between the two parties. She told the gathering of every dedication of the present FIRS to enhance understand ing between taxpayers and tax authorities. She told the market

associations that their door will always be open to entertain quest io ns and clarify issues that may need additional information if the need be. She introduced the head of the Abuja Federal Enlighten 

and Engagement Team (FEET) and insist that as a team under her supervision they will always be available to for a one-on-one discussion and further enlightenment to the market associations it there is a need.

The Panel discussions

The members of the panel were invited to take the table and lead the discussions. The members included the Head of Abuja Federal Enlightenment and Engagement Team FIRS, the FCT district, and society CITN, the representative of Market Associations and the co-founder of FollowTaxes. Each of the panelists was given 5 minutes to highlights what they do and their roles towards transparency in taxation. The participants were then given the chance to ask questions, answer questions, elaborate and discuss. All the questions there were asked were answered and resolutions were drafted in the communique.

The communique.

The communique team was constituted by the co-founder of FollowTaxes taxes during his introductory speech. The communique team compiled suggestions and resolutions and issued the communique at the end of the town-hall meeting. The communique is attached as Annex 3

The community outreach.

Among the resolutions agreed after the discussion, and upon the request of the representative of the market associations, it was agreed that both CSOs and the representative of the revenue authority to go on a door-to-door visit and sensitization in the Kuje market. The aim is to further

reach more people and see if there are questions that may need to be answered for ease of guide and ease of paying taxes. The CSOs and the revenue authorities then peered up and visited more than 40 business places in and around the market within a period of about 3 hours.

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