The role of mass media in tax administration

The mass media have become very powerful tools for mass mobilisation, sensitisation and social integration by virtue of their impact, most times instantaneous. When their impact is delayed, its bullet effect is not compromised.
 
The mass media have become electronic magic carpets that convey huge quantum of information in flight to destinations far removed from the source, closing physicals gaps, bridging other divides, be they socio, political or economic. In the devolution of power, media people are referred to as members of the forth estate of the realm. They educate, inform, entertain and in metropolitan societies, have transformed the television or radio set into an electronic baby sitter for working class women.
 
They prescribe taste, set socio-cultural and socio-political agenda for society, fight for social justice, hold governments accountable to the governed, especially in democratic setting, unearth and shame practices that are retrogressive and celebrate progressive ideas, inventions and success stories among other roles.
 
Media products are essentially social products that will help in the uplift of society. Lending credence to this view recently, the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Dr Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, included the media in her tax matrix, a chart the organisation has designed in its efforts at appreciating the role of various stakeholders in tax administration.
 
She said: “It will be erroneous to assume that only tax or revenue authorities are involved in tax administration or constitutes the tax system. In my view, the tax administration/tax system encompasses those persons, agencies, institutions(in the public and private sectors) and the processes involved in: tax legislation, administration/enforcement of tax laws; collection, allocation, distribution and expenditure of tax revenues and other ancillary matters related to efficient performance of tax functions and the tax system.”
 
She adds: “We cannot look at tax admini-stration/the tax system in isolation, given that tax administration operates within a particular system. We must look at tax administration in the broader sense of the tax system.”
 
The FIRS boss enumerates major players in her tax administration matrix to include “the presidency/state executives, tax authorities/support agencies, National State Assemblies, auditor general, ministries of finance/tax policy makers, the Judiciary/other law adjudication bodies, law enforcement agencies, mass media, civil society, lawyers, accountants, auditors, consultants and educational institutions/academic community.”
 
The radio, for example, has been known to convey mess-ages to the hinterland. The transistor radio informs and entertains on the go. Little wonder the Fulani cattle rearers are fond of this little magic box, an electronic companion that one can even interact with these days with the advent of mobile telephones, through which one can contribute to phone-in radio programmes.
 
To underscore the premium the nation’s apex tax administration agency places on the media, Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru has continued to deploy the mass media in her tax drive and sensisitisation programme. Through paid advertisements on the pages of newspapers, radio and television jingles, the massive reforms on the tax administration framework at the FIRS have been communicated to Nigerians and the result can be seen in the increasing tax revenues being generated by the agency yearly.
                                                                                                                                                                                        

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