OXFAM and an advocacy group, ActionAid Nigeria, have called on the Federal Government to formulate a comprehensive and detailed national policy framework for proper accounting of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects.
Mr David Nwachukwu, the Chairman Steering Committee of Strengthening Public Finance in Nigeria(STREPFIN), made this known at a news conference on Friday in Lagos.
He said that the framework should be in consultation with the private sector.
Nwachukwu said that the framework would ensure proper
accounting of CSR actions and sustainability of CSR-related projects and programmes in Nigeria.
“Oxfam and actionaid commenced a study on strengthening public finance in Nigeria about three years ago with pilot study of Rivers, Delta and Bayelsa, and some federal MDAs,” he said.
Nwachukwu said that the study showed that CSR actions do not necessarily flow solely from community needs, but rather based on companies than community needs.
He said that there was clear linkage between CSR and taxation in terms of social infrastructure development and citizen wellbeing.
According to him, the absence of policy framework on CSR actions could potentially create avenue for tax evasions by corporate organisations.
“The outcome of that study which is essentially a reflection on how public finance has been managed in Nigeria indicated that public finance management has been less than optimal, that there were inefficiencies in the system and that there was a lot of room for improvement.
“That led up to a roadmap for public finance management in Nigeria in the first phase. The second phase, which is done under the financing for development project, also implemented by Oxfam and ActionAid, focused essentially on the revenue side.
”In coming up with the road map, we have identified that there was a need to diversify the revenue base of government at all levels, but this specific study focused on CSR, taxes and wages.
“The background is that many of the players in the organised private sector have had cause to embark on infrastructure development projects ostensively to fill some gap in their operating environment.
“A number of them would want to deal with the cost of providing such infrastructure project as part of their CSR in their environment for activities, and in doing so, would also like to claim tax relief in such expenditures,” he said.
Nwachukwu also called for social audit of CSR to ensure value for money in the benefitting communities and incentives for CSR actions, to encourage continuity and sustainability.
He stressed the need for sensitisation of tax payers on their rights and obligations under the law, in order to prevent incidences of multiple taxation.
Nwachukwu urged government to strengthen the power of the Joint Tax Board (JTB) to enable them to give full effect to taxes and levies approved list for collection. (NAN)
– Mar. 23, 2018 @ 19:53 GMT |