IMPACT OF TAX REVENUE ON NIGERIA’S ECONOMIC GROWTH
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The Nigerian government like other countries of the world has legislative powers to impose on its citizens, any form of tax and at whatever rate it deems appropriate. Nigeria has a mixed economy i.e, government undertakes commercial investments alongside the private sector. Economists generally agree that there is a need for minimal direct government intervention through fiscal policies and instruments such as taxation, public expenditure and regulation. Thingan (1995) argues that the most potent fiscal instrument is taxation which facilitates reduction of private consumption, increasing investment and transferring resources to the government for economic development. Therefore, taxation is a compulsory levy imposed by government to defray the cost of governance and communal services. Oloyede (2010) adds that tax facilitates resources re-allocation, promotion of social equity through wealth distribution which enhances economic growth and development and ensures economic stability by correcting and controlling macroeconomic (both policy induced or exogenous) shocks. Aguolu (2004) posits that on the side of capitalist economic policies, the government leaves much of the commercial ventures in the private individuals. Due to certainty, universality and convenience taxation is seen to be the salient source of revenue to the government. In a social economy, only a small percentage of revenue may be derived from taxation while in a capitalist oriented economy, a greater percentage of government revenue is derivable from taxation. The income gotten from investments, due to failure of government companies or private companies (in which government holds substantial investments) may be disrupted. In nutshell, there is need for repositioning of the nation’s tax system by the policy makers and academia. Having Nigeria as a monolithic economy filled with full dependent on the oil sector has made the economy open to external manipulation and adversely disrupts the planning in the country. Taxation is the only non exhaustible veritable source of revenue to government while oil is an exhaustible resource.
According to Adamu (2008), tax is invariably on enforced contribution of money, exact pursuit to legislative authority. Note that a fine or a penalty is not a tax; not even when the tax is imposed by a tax statute for this reason penalty for wrong parking traffic offences etc. are not taxes. Also a charge imposed for services, rendered, property hired or goods sold are not a tax. Fees payable for parking vehicles public toilets usage, night soil contracts, sewage clearing etc. are therefore nothing but payment of services. If there is no valid authority by which it is imposed, a charge is not a tax but once it is backed by written law and it has the other characteristics of a tax, it remains a tax even if it is called a toll, tribute toll gate, gabel duty, customs etc. In detecting a tax, it is better to look to essential characteristics rather than its name.