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“We will not recruit area boys to collect taxes” Taiwo Oyedele replies Critics 

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taiwo ayodele

The Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms, Taiwo Oyedele, has responded to the claim that his committee is planning to recruit “Area Boys” to be tax collectors in the country.  

Taking to his X (formerly Twitter) account, Oyedele said the headline widely quoted in different media outlets is a mischaracterization of his message, adding that one “cannot recruit a person to do the job they are already doing”.  

Oyedele came under fire last week when he was quoted on different dailies that his committee wants “Area boys” to be trained to collect taxes in the country.  

Meanwhile reacting to these criticisms, the Chairman of the Presidential Committee on tax reforms noted that his message is that the taxes and levies collected in the informal sectors can be harmonized and some eliminated to promote ease of doing business in the state.  

He said,  

  • “In many cases, area boys are engaged to collect these taxes which they often do through crude, unorthodox means and harassment.  
  • “Painfully, these taxes yield very little revenue to the government despite the huge burden they place on small businesses, artisans and transporters.  
  • “We propose to eliminate many of these taxes and harmonise a few of them that may be appropriate and devise a civil means of collection using mobile phones.”  

According to Oyedele, the issues he addressed in the interview where he was quoted have been over sensationalized and taken out of context.  

He added,  

  • “The issue I addressed during my interview on Channels TV, which has been sensationalised and taken out of context, was how to get the buy-in of those who currently collect these taxes (and obviously benefit from doing so beyond whatever they are being paid officially). I did not mention any word like recruit or employ. 
  • “My thought on it beyond the legal aspect was to consider the social dimension and find a practical solution that has a high chance of success. The idea being that government could train the collectors to behave in a civilised manner and pay them decently so that it is comparable to what they currently make. Their new role will be to drive and monitor compliance. The payers will pay less and be treated with dignity. Government will earn more, and society will benefit – a win-win outcome for everyone. ” 

Backstory 

  • Taiwo Oyedele, chairman of the presidential committee on fiscal policy and tax reforms, faced multiple backlashes after he was quoted to have said in an interview with Channels TV that his committee wants to train “Area Boys” to collect taxes in the country.  
  • Oyedele said his team is planning to involve all stakeholders in implementation — including louts popularly called “Area Boys”. 
  • Furthermore, he said about three reforms have been fully implemented, adding that the remaining ones are in different stages of implementation. 
  • “The biggest instrument to implement our recommendation is the Emergency Economic Intervention Bill that we came up with, trying to amend about 15 different laws and implement some very important changes that will help with price stability in terms of inflation,” Oyedele said. 
  • According to Oyedele, what the committee has been trying to do is work on the implementation mechanism to transmit the policy into real impact. 
  • “We are already working on that. We are not waiting for the instrument to be out. Some of it would be, for example, asking states and local governments to suspend nuisance taxes that just create problems with very little revenue to show for it,” he added. 

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