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Taxation, revenue allocation and fiscal federalism in Nigeria: Issues, challenges and policy options

Author(s): Salami Adeleke

Journal: Economic Annals
ISSN 0013-3264

Volume: 56;
Issue: 189;
Start page: 27;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: taxation | revenue allocation | fiscal federalism

Taxation is one of the most important and easy sources of revenue to any government, as the government possesses inherent power to impose taxes and levies. Nigeria tax system has been weak due largely to inadequate data of the tax base and heavy reliance on oil revenue. With the volatility in oil prices and excruciating impacts of the recent global financial crisis, taxation deserves more attention now than ever before in Nigeria. One issue that is critical to domestic resource mobilization and utilization is the issue of fiscal federalism. Nigeria operates three tiers of government; Federal, State and Local Governments with separate revenue, expenditure, and assigned responsibilities each. However, all decisions including resources are controlled from the centre and the vertical revenue allocations tilt more towards the direction of federal government, contrary to the tenets of federalism the country is practicing. Both vertical and horizontal revenue in Nigeria is engulfed in controversy. The paper presents key issues, trend and challenges of taxation and fiscal federalism in Nigeria. In addition, the paper highlights a number of suggestions that would stimulate increase in tax revenue and guarantee fiscal assignment acceptable to the federal and sub-national government.
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