Nigeria’s Low Tax Collection and Poor Quality of Government Expenditure: Political and Administrative Impediments to Improvement

Festus O. Egwaikhide
December 11, 2019

This study examines the political and administrative barriers to domestic resource mobilization in Nigeria, whose tax ratios are significantly lower than those of neighboring countries. In 2000–2002 and 2014–2017, respectively, the ratio of domestic tax to gross domestic product averaged 5.8 percent and 3.9 percent annually, and value-added tax ratios were 1.0 percent and 0.8 percent. Uncoordinated, sweeping tax exemptions, the multiplicity of taxes, inadequate infrastructure, and political considerations are key factors contributing to low domestic tax collection. The quality of government spending also suffers immensely from persistent delays in budget approval, erratic releases and low utilization of funds, weak procurement practices, and the influence of electoral cycles. Development partners have supported capacity building through training programs aimed at increasing tax revenues and enhancing expenditure efficiency. More work needs to be done in areas such as continuous tax reforms, greater use of digital technology, human capital development, and effective delivery of services. 

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