CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The primary responsibility of every government all over the world is to ensure security, freedom and welfare of its citizen. For instance, Section 16(1b) of the 2011 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states that “the government has the responsibility of ensuring the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of its citizens” (Federal Government of Nigeria, 2011). To effectively carry out its primary function and other subsidiary functions, governments need adequate funding. Unfortunately, Government responsibilities continue to increase over time especially in developing countries; as a result of growing population of citizens, and technological development. In Nigerian, the government has depended so much on oil revenue for execution of its primary functions and economic development programmes. Presently, there is a general fall in the price of crude oil which has adversely affected the Nigeria economic (Anyaehie and Areji, 2015; Uzonwanne, 2015). To this effect, the former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and other concerned citizens have called on governments at various levels to look for other means of revenue generation for the sustainable economic development of Nigeria. Kiabel and Nwokah (2009) corroborate this idea by saying that the dwindling revenue and increased cost of running government require all tiers of Nigeria government to look for alternative means of improving their revenue base. It is obvious that the country’s revenue from oil can no longer fully support its development objectives.
Kusi (1998) states that many countries of the world depend mainly on taxation for generating required income to meet their financial needs. The tax provides a predictable and stable flow of revenue to finance development objectives (Pfister, 2009). Bird and Zolt (2003) opine that, effective and efficient tax system can assist the government generate enough revenue to take care of its estimated expenditure, meet the needs of the people, and effectively participate in the world economy. The quality of life of people of a state is the focus of any development objectives. Access to education, improved healthcare delivery, employment opportunities, clean air, safe drinking water and security of life and property determine the people’s quality of life or standard of living (The World Bank Group, 2004).
Before the introduction of VAT in Nigerian economy, the Federal Government has been working relentlessly on how to revamp the Nigeria economy. To this effect, a lot of economic measures have been introduced. Among the economic measures introduced included the Second-Tier Foreign Exchange Market (SFEM), Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), and Foreign Exchange Market (FEM) etc. All these efforts at revamping the economy were to no avail as the economy seems to be an ailing child that has defied all economic therapy or fiscal measures. Prompted by its avowed position to revamp the Nigerian economy at whatever cost, the Federal Military Government under the leadership of General Sani Abacha introduced a fiscal policy, the Value Added Tax (VAT) in January 1994. VAT is a consumption tax at each stage of the consumption chain and is borne by final consumer. It requires a taxable person upon registering with the Federal Board of Inland Revenue to charge and collect VAT at a flat rate of 5% on all vatable goods and services. Where the supply is not subject to VAT, the VAT liability will either be Zero-rated or exempted. Zero-rated goods and supplies are all export goods and supplies. Supplies that are zero-rated are still taxable but no actual tax is payable to the government. The important difference between Zero-rated and exempt items is that any input VAT relating to Zero-rated supplies is recoverable, whereas that relating to exempt supplies are not recoverable.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In Nigeria, value added tax is one of the instruments the Federal government introduced to generate additional revenue. Yet, most prominent Nigerians and interest groups had spoken against its introduction. It would appear that VAT is froth with some problems. After its adoption into the Nigeria tax system, it has become a controversial issue that generates debate among several authors like Naiyeju and (2009) that the purpose of introducing value added tax as one of the methods of taxation in Nigeria economy has not yet known.
Despite the contributions and huge revenue generated through VAT, the federal, state and local governments complain of insufficient fund to embark on projects and the citizens have always lamented of poor infrastructural facilities, unemployment, low capita income etc which have resulted to poor standard of living, crime rate and other social ills has been on the increase. Nigeria is still listed and regarded as a third world country. A situation of this nature entails asking what is the relationship between VAT and Gross domestic product and total consolidated revenue of the government.
In view of the above, this paper work shall examine value added tax and economic development in Nigeria and to provide reasonable solutions and recommendations that will be geared to reveal the benefit of VAT in Nigeria macro economy.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to examine value added tax and economic development in Nigeria. However, the specific objectives are:
1. To examine the relationship between value added tax and revenue generation in Nigeria
2. To establish the effects of value added tax on revenue generation in Nigeria
3. To investigate the relationship between VAT and GDP in Nigeria
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is significant because of dearth of work in this tax system since it was introduced about two decades ago. This is because extensive studies have been done on various aspect of tax generally and VAT in particular but not much has been done on the contribution of value added tax system and its contribution to government total revenue and gross domestic product. This study therefore intends to focus and address the level of impact VAT has on government total revenue and economic development as proxy by GDP.
The study will also be of significant importance to students and researchers as it will serve as a reference material for further research on related topic.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions are formulated to pilot this research work:
1. Are there any relationships between value added tax and revenue generation in Nigeria?
2. Does value added tax has effect on revenue generation in Nigeria?
3. Is there any relationship between Value Added Tax and Nigeria Gross Domestic Product?
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study covers the evaluation of the impact of value added tax on economic development in Nigeria. The study is therefore limited to accountants in selected banks in Port-Harcourt, which includes UBA, First Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc.
1.7 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
Ho: Value added tax has no significant impact on Nigerian economic development.
Hi: Value added tax has significant impact on Nigerian economic development.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Gross Domestic Product (GDP): is one of the primary indicators used to gauge the health of a country’s economy. It represents the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period; you can think of it as the size of the economy.
VAT: is an indirect tax on the consumption of goods and services in the economy.
Revenue: is the income that a business has from its normal business activities, usually from the sale of goods and services to customers. It is also referred to as sales or turnover.
Economic development: can be defined as efforts that seek to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for a community by creating and/or retaining jobs and supporting or growing incomes and the tax base.
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