August 6 , 2015
How the Nigerian government can make people enjoy paying taxes
I would like to suggest something that will
— Increase government revenue
— Significantly reduce public corruption
— Make people want to pay taxes
— Help prioritise public project spending so that taxes go to highest impact projects first
The method is called ‘Allocate My Tax’, and would be a tech based method of making people take responsibility for how the money they pay in taxes is spent.
The way it works is this — all money that is contributed by an individual or company is visible to them on an online platform. For example, if I have paid N100,000 in taxes in a personal capacity this year, I can view it on the platform.
Public servants and institutions submit requests to receive money to fund particular initiatives on this same platform. So as a tax-payer, I can log in and see different requests, for example:
— A local government requests for N10 million to fix the road in front of my house
— The education ministry requests N30 million to build schools for girls in the northern part of the country
— The health ministry requests N2 million to fund training for the ministry staff in Korea
I paid N100,000 in taxes. What I can then do is allocate my tax money towards each of those ministries. I could contribute N20,000 to fix my road and N80,000 for the schools. I do not like the idea of training ministry staff, so I do not allocate any money to that initiative.
As the projects are implemented, I expect the institution to provide me with progress updates. If I am satisfied, I will fund them next time. If the money disappears with no further feedback, I may choose not to fund them next time.
There are certainly more projects than there is money to fulfil those projects. The above method makes sure that projects get money allocated to them in a manner that best serves the public interest. It makes ministries aware that their expenditures will be scrutinized publicly, and thus makes them more careful with expenditures.
It involves the participation of people in how their tax money is spent — so it does not feel like taxes are simply disappearing into a black hole.
People that pay very high taxes could basically bankroll entire initiatives on their own — e.g build hospitals.
The people who do not login to allocate their taxes — their taxes are allocated by a committee of representatives.