By Usman Aliyu
Okada (Edo), April 22, 2021 Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo, Prof. Deborah Odejimi, has called on government to harness the potentials of informal sector for huge revenue generation.
Odejimi made the call on Thursday while delivering the 18th inaugural lecture of the institution.
She called on government to pay attention to issues affecting the Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs), noting that if the enterprises flourished, they create more jobs and generate huge income, with the attendant multiplier effect.
Naija247news reports that Odejimi had her lecture entitled: “They May Be Small But Hold The Ace For Economic Growth: The Relevance of The Informal Sector in Nigeria.”
According to her, the informal sector plays pivotal roles in the economy through provision of employment for the teeming unemployed in Nigeria and other countries of the world.
She, however, said that tax evasion by the sector had robbed the country of the needed funds and capacity to provide basic social amenities for the citizenry.
“No government can provide infrastructure like electricity, good hospitals, education and roads, among others, without the contribution of the masses in form of taxes.
“The informal sector stands to benefit maximally from government’s interventions in the provision of basic amenities, hence the need for total tax mobilisation.
“Over the years, the Nigerian tax authorities have made series of attempts, aimed at improving government revenue from taxation.
“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Country Report (2018) states that only about 10 million people, out of a labour force of approximately 77 million people, are registered for taxes in Nigeria,” she said.
Odejimi recommended reduction and simplification of the cost of business registration to encourage small business owners.
She also advocated for incentives in form of financial support and easy access to non-interest loan.
The don canvassed provision of basic facilities and social support to motivate and encourage operators in the sector so as to fulfill their obligation of tax payment and compliance.
According to her, informal sector contributes immensely to the provision of low-income jobs, low-cost labour and low-cost goods, especially to poor households as well as goods and services to both the formal and informal sectors.
Consequent upon this, she said that government could derive huge revenue, if the sector was properly taxed.
“Given that they play key roles in inclusive growth and poverty reduction, their relevance cannot be underestimated.
“The informal sector should, therefore, be encouraged to make greater and more meaningful contributions,” she said.
Earlier in his address, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Lawrence Ezemonye, said that inaugural lecture was a significant and landmark occasion in the career of any academic staffer.
This, he said was because it helped to showcase knowledge and opportunity for the ‘town and gown’ to interface.