The Kaduna community town hall meeting in Kaduna State
The Kaduna PPD was the first in the project. The session focused on sensitizing stakeholders on taxation and the importance of transparency in governance. It was held at the banquet hall, Arewa house, Kaduna on 30 November 2017. The PPD focused on the reforms and the mandate of Kaduna Internal Revenue Service (KADIRS) in line with the relevant provisions of the Kaduna State Tax Codification Law. The planning and stakeholders mapping were marvelous. (Details in Annex 1) The participants were taken through the Tax Codification Law which harmonized all revenue/taxes being collected in the State. The law is currently being implemented in the State and has yielded tremendous increase in the State IGR.
The Tax administration or regime in Kaduna state before the enactment of the Tax Codification and Consolidation Law was characterized by many leakages, multiple legislation, multiple taxation, arbitrarily assessment/enforcement, lack effective/efficient redress process and wrong public perception of taxation. These challenges in the old tax regime are the target of address by the enactment of the Kaduna State Tax (Codification and Consolidation) Law, 2016. The Law codified and consolidated all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) and Local Government Areas (LGAs) tax and revenue laws under one law and repealed all previous State and LG tax and revenue laws in the State. The law established the KADIRS as a corporate body with perpetual succession and a common seal that can sue and be sued in its corporate name and can also acquire property.
Highlights Of The Contributions At The Community Town Hall Meeting
i. Co-founder of Followtaxes
The Co-founder: Mr Saied Tafida spoke and welcomed guest to the event. He explained the reason for the community town hall and the reasons why the stakeholders need to commit towards achieving a better result. He introduced the activities and narrated the reason why all the participants need to actively participate. According to him, no one is superior in the room and every body’s contributions are important. He insisted that every state’s problems are peculiar and as a result, the taxpayers and the tax authorities alike will have to dialogue together to come up with the best ways to enhance taxation, governance, and transparency around budget in their state. He concluded by opening the hall for dialogue and invited the Chairman Kaduna State Internal Revenue Seervice (KADIRS) to tell the gathering the successes and challenges in the state revenue generation
ii. The Chairman Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service (KADIRS)
The Chairman who was represented by his Executive Director Compliance spoke on the Kaduna state Tax (Codification and Consolidation) Law, 2016. For him, the law makes provisions for presumptive tax. A tax that covers petty businesses which income cannot be ascertained because they do not keep or maintain formal financial records which makes it difficult to assess their income. He also spoke about re-introducing other not imposed taxes that includes, land use charges, tenement rate among others. Importantly he highlighted the inclusion of Tax refund mechanism in the codification law. For him, the refund is obtainable after auditing. In his words, he added that “the Service will return to the taxpayer such amount paid in excess of the tax due”. The refund shall be made within sixty (60) days of the decision to make the refund, with the option of setting off the amount due against future tax. Also important in his speech are the points he made on harmonization of demand notices, prohibitions of roadblocks for the purpose of taxes, prohibitions of cash collections in taxes, and strict penalties for defaulters which include the tax officials.
iii. Brief by Kaduna State House of Assembly (KSHoA)
The KSHoA was represented by the secretary committee on finance, the secretary briefed participants on the importance of community town hall meetings like this and thanked FollowTaxes and the USA embassy for making it possible. He buttressed on the legislators continued commitment in making policies that would impact positively on the lives of the citizens. He added that the legislators will also ensure passage of laws that will promote economic investment in the State.
iv. The brief from the Market Associations (Sarkin Kasuwa)
The Chief of Kaduna market association (Sarkin Kasuwa) spoke on behalf of the other market associations. He showed his appreciation and requested that such dialogues should be held often. He commended the role of FollowTaxes for such an initiative. He said that “the market associations are always at the receiving end, and if there are no rooms to discuss challenges, there will always be gaps”. He insists that meetings like this are the deliberate acts that can reduce the gaps and tension between the authorities and taxpayers.
Discussions, Panelist, and Communique
Followtaxes facilitated the atmosphere for the interaction by setting ground rules for the dialogue. The following rules were highlighted to encourage the free flow of discussion for all participants
- The purpose of dialogue is to understand and learn from one another.
- All dialogue participants can speak for themselves or as representatives of groups or special interests
- To treat everyone in the dialogue as an equal without prejudice.
- To be open and listen to others even when you disagree; try not to rush to judgment
- To look for common ground
- To keep dialogue and decision-making separate (dialogue comes first).
The Panel discussions
The panelists for the community town hall were drawn from Kaduna Internal Revenue Service, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Open Government Partnership Kaduna, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Kaduna State Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Kaduna State House of Assembly and Kaduna State Market Association. The interactive session was moderated by the state chairman CITN, he is backed up by the co-founder of Followtaxes. The session provided a means to enhance mutual understanding of problems and expanding trust between citizens and revenue generating agencies by providing a platform to clarify expectations and agree on commitments. The Participants asked series of questions relating to key issues mentioned above and answers were provided by the panelist and other stakeholders present at the dialogue.
Discussion at the dialogue also focused on policy and decisions making processes that will improve revenue/tax generation in Kaduna State with the buy-in and ownership of a wide range of stakeholders – this is crucial because policy implementation is directly dependent on buy-in from at least those stakeholders who are involved in implementation. If there is a buy-in of stakeholders in the policy at hand, policy implementation is likely to be more transparent.
A five-man communiqué group was constituted to draft a communiqué at the end of the one-day public policy containing far-reaching decisions and action points to be taken forward to the governor, OGP secretariat, and the relevant revenue generation agencies as next steps. The communiqués is expected to serve as content for media group for engagement to create more awareness on revenue/taxes in Kaduna State. The draft communiqué was presented after discussion, for the participants to adopt. The content is attached as Annex 2
Our evaluations after the Kaduna town hall has shown good results in an increase in awareness and better result. Hence, we decided to adopt the pattern in all the other community town hall meetings across the other 7 states of the nation with adjustments based on the need of the state.