On Wednesday 17th April, Chairman UBA Group asked the entrepreneurs and the general public on his Facebook platform the one specific recommendation they would give if they had the opportunity to change the tax policy in Nigeria to support more entrepreneurs and SMEs.
The responses came in their numbers and from each recommendation that was suggested, he was able to understand, first-hand, the concerns on tax that SMEs and entrepreneurs had.
Today, Wednesday April 24, he delivered the Keynote Address on “National Development: Unlocking the Potential of Taxation” at the 21st Annual Tax Conference of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) which took place today in Abuja, Nigeria. He mentioned these concerns one after the other and shared useful insights on the practical steps needed to achieve national development with an effective tax regime in Nigeria.

Elumelu emphasized on the importance of small and medium businesses in the country. He said,
"There is no talk about national development without emphasis on the small size businesses. These are the engine of the economy. Those are the people who create jobs and stabilize the economy. These are young entrepreneurs, you should hear what they are saying and how they yearn to support the national development if given the encouragement and opportunity. This however, can only be achieved if they are given the necessary encouragement and opportunity. As citizens demand good standard of living, they want to have good access to education, they want to have improved healthcare, they want to see massive improvement in their infrastructure. They want accommodation, they want security. They want improvement in our moral standards and values as a country”.

On how the government can fund the demand, legitimate and expected desire and expectations of the citizens Elumelu suggests: 
“One of the ways is to make sure there is increase in revenue from taxation. If there is cohesion in citizenry expectation and in government desire and willingness to provide this and the enablement to make all of this happen, then all things being equal, we should be better for it. The key thing is we want a progressive, effective and efficient tax regime in Nigeria so that government can do what is expected of government and also so that citizens can hold government more accountable". 

On deformalizing the myths that surrounds tax, Elumelu believes people need to be mobilized and need to understand how failure in certain areas affect our overall aspiration as a people and as a country to live well. He explains that we need communication, mass mobilization and mass participation. We need to let people know why they should pay taxes, giving the citizen the confidence that when they pay taxes, their monies will be used well. Tax payment should be simplified so that more people will come into it and be proud tax payers in the country because this is highly important for us to attract and retain investment and encourage people to work hard.

 Speaking on Technology and tax, Elumelu emphasized the importance; 
“We can leverage technology in the 21st century to drive our tax efficiency. People need to be able access their taxes and pay using their phones, it will improve the ease, and once you achieve improvement in ease in doing something, people will migrate to you". 

In his concluding words, Elumelu believes that as a country, we need to encourage companies to set up their headquarters in Nigeria, we need to encourage transparency. We should at this time talk less and just mobilize, engage and get our tax base expanded, get our SMEs into the tax base, encourage the big companies to do better.
To be competitive locally and internationally we need to do all of these to drive the needle on national development.

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