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Tax Summit: Women call for equitable tax policies to stimulate economic growth

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4th from left, the President of CITN Barrister Samuel Agbeluyi FCTI mni,the National President of Society of Women in Taxation (SWIT) Mrs Bosede Ikhanoba , Prof Olayinka Adenikinju, from Bowen University and other dignitaries at the Tax Summit held in Abuja. 

By Victoria Onehi

The Former Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui Okauru, has made a strong case for inclusion of women’s voices in fiscal policy decision-making processes to ensure that their perspectives and needs are adequately captured in the nation’s fiscal regime on a sustainable basis.

Okauru,  made this remark in her goodwill message presented at the maiden Tax Summit organised by the Society of Women in Taxation (SWIT) held in Abuja on Tuesday.

Represented by at the forum by the Chief Compliance Officer,CPP Group, Fehintola Samuel, the renowned tax expert said taxation policies can be used to incentivize and support women’s economic participation.

She said: “This might include tax breaks or incentives for female-owned businesses, childcare subsidies to enable women to participate more fully in the workforce. “

Corroborating the former FIRS’ Executive Chairman’s stance , the President Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, Barr. Samuel Agbeluyi, said women can be exempted from paying tax during maternity leave. 

“There are things women do that men don’t do and that is giving birth. And that is a major responsibility they do unbehalf of all of us. So, I am proposing that during the period of their maternity leave, can we skip their tax deduction. Can we exempt them from paying tax? It will help them and will not take anything from the system. “Agbeluyi said.

Speaking on the theme of the Summit “Beyond Numbers: Unveiling the Gender Dynamics of Taxation for Inclusive Economic Growth’, Lead Speaker, and another chartered tax practitioner, Dr Titilayo Fowokan;  said robust data collection and analysis disaggregated by gender remained crucial to understanding the impact of taxation policies on different genders. 

She explained: “This information can inform evidence-based policymaking to ensure that taxation contributes to inclusive economic growth.”

In his contributions during the panel discussion,Prof Olayinka Adenikinju, noted that the way taxes affect the female gender was different from the way it affects the male gender, hence government should put this into consideration while making fiscal policies.

Also, the National President of SWIT, Mrs Bosede Ikhanoba, in her remarks said the concept of gender-responsive taxation required the designing of a Strategic Platform and implementation of tax policies that consider and address gender disparities, thereby contributing to a more inclusive and equitable society.

She explained that the summit was organised to explore the role of women in society vis-a-vis tax development,revenue generation and to highlight the importance of empowering women to create a better future for  all that guarantee sustainable national development through gender-inclusive tax system.

The Executive Director, Women In Management, Business & Public Service (Wimbiz),  Hansatu Adegbite, commended SWIT for organising the summit. 

According to her, since  women constitute almost half of the population of the nation and if more women are economically empowered, their taxes will boost the nation’s GDP and in turn promote national development. 

The gender policy-friendly advocate charged  governments at all tiers to promote gender friendly policies that will help women.

This is even as one of the Lead Speakers and Executive Director,Research Enterprise System, Prof. Fatai Aremu, maintained that if Nigeria would make significant progress in achieving sustainable development, all forms of bias in tax policies must be eradicated and systems must be put in place to foster a more equitable taxation that can engender economic growth.

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