The moral right of citizens to demand accountability from the government on what their taxes have been used for is dependent on when citizens have themselves heeded their civil obligations to pay taxes.
This was the position of the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami during the unveiling of the FIRS Service Charter on Tuesday in Abuja.
Mr. Nami, while delivering the opening remarks at the unveiling, which was one of the events hosted by the Service in commemoration of the 2022 Global Customer Service Week, called on citizens to be fair to the government by paying their taxes, noting that this was the pathway to the country’s civilisation.
“Nigerians should be fair to the government,” he stated. “We must start to trust the Government. Nigerians must also understand that tax is a statutory responsibility and they should pay their taxes.”
Mr. Nami further stated that “Globally, tax is a social contract between government and its citizens. It is when citizens fulfil their obligations that they have moral rights to ask the government to account for taxes they pay. Nigerians are expected to understand that globally citizens pay for their own civilization; as most infrastructures and privileges in advanced countries are made possible by the revenue generated through the taxes their citizens pay to the government.”
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The Executive Chairman, FIRS also appealed to governments at the Federal, State and Local Government levels to give value to citizens for the money they pay as taxes.
On the occasion of the Global Customer Service Week, Mr. Nami noted that the Week aligned with one of his four-cardinal objectives for the FIRS, that is making the Service a “Customer-centric institution”. He noted that the FIRS had taken steps and actions to institutionalise effective and efficient service delivery to all its stakeholders.
“For us at the FIRS, the essence of the customer service week is to further promote the culture of quality service delivery and team spirit among staff and reward them for their commitment to the mission and vision of the Service.
“The importance of efficient service cannot be relegated in a service-oriented institution like ours as quality service to our taxpayers and customers in general lead to increase in tax compliance and revenue generation, which is integral to nation building.
“The theme of this year’s celebration has been appropriately chosen: Celebrate Service! For us at FIRS, we recognize the commitment of our staff, and have every reason to celebrate them for the services they render to our customers.
“To demonstrate our commitment to quality service and a delightful customer experience, I am pleased to inform you that Management has approved a Service Charter, which will be unveiled shortly. The Service Charter contains the services we render, and is our service agreement, promise and commitment on how we will be rendering service to FIRS esteemed customers and our expectations from them.”
The CEO of SERVICOM Presidency, Mrs Nnenna Akajemeli who delivered the keynote address at the unveiling commended the FIRS for being one of the agencies of government that was committed to providing value to taxpayers.
The Global Customer Service Week is a week-long international celebration that calls attention to the importance of customer service and the people that provide it with a view to boosting morale and teamwork.