Nigeria has the largest economy and is the most populous nation in Africa, with the highest growing GDP rate in Africa and the world’s eighth- largest oil exporter. However, The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released official Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures for the second quarter of 2016, confirming that the Nigerian economy entered into its second recession in August 2016.
According to the statistics released, the GDP contracted by 2.06 percent in the second quarter of 2016, following a contraction of 0.36 percent in the first quarter. After contracting for five consecutive quarters, the Nigerian economy has later exited the recession in September, 2017 (NBS, 2017).Though Nigeria is officially out of recession, more than sixty percent of the population still lives in abject poverty, close to 80% of its youths are unemployed; there is insecurity problems in the North East with Boko Haram ravaging the area; there is epileptic power supply, high cost of doing business amongst others economic and business challenges. The people are demanding for government to act and enact laws and policies to improve living standard. The government is complaining of lack of fund to implement its policies. The big question therefore is: How can taxation be used to revitalize the economy of the country? It is not a hidden fact that the role of taxation in promoting economic growth in Nigeria has not been genuinely felt by the populace, primarily because of its poor administration.
There are numerous problems plaguing tax administration in Nigeria. They include frontiers of professionalism, poor accountability, lack of awareness of the general public on the imperatives and benefits of taxation, corruption of tax officials, tax avoidance and evasion by taxing units, connivance of taxing officials with taxing population, high rate of tax, poor method of tax collection, etc. Tax administration and individual agencies suffer from limitations in manpower, money, tools and machinery to meet the ever increasing challenges and difficulties. In fact, the negative attitude of most tax collectors toward taxpayers can be linked to poor remuneration and motivation (Utomi, 2011).There are other arguments in the literature of other effects of taxation. It is believed that taxes can inhibit investment rate through high tax rates such as corporate and personal income, capital gain taxes. Following this, taxes are reputed to slow down growth in labour supply by disposing labour leisure choice in favour of leisure. Moreover, tax policy can affect productivity growth through its discouraging effect on research and development expenditures.
Fourth, taxes can lead to a flow of resources to other sectors that may have lower productivity. Finally, high taxes on labour supply can distort the efficient use of human capital high tax burdens even though they have high social productivity (Nzotta, 2007;. Torgler, 2011) Furthermore, it has been observed over the years that income tax revenue has been grossly understated due to improper tax administration arising from under assessment and inefficient machinery for collection (Adegbie & Fakile, 2011; Anyaduba, Eragbhe & Modugu, 2012). According to Ola (2001) the success or failure of any tax system depends on the extent to which it is properly managed; the extent to which the tax law is properly interpreted and implemented. The role of taxation in promoting economic growth in Nigeria is not fully felt, and optimal tax is not been realized that can engine economic growth primarily because of its poor administration. Even after some tax policies the tax authority has put in place over the few years such as the E- Payment scheme, Tax Identification Number (TIN), Anti-Tax Avoidance legislation, major tax challenges still exists.
There have been a number of empirical research work on the area of taxation and its effect on growth of the economy. However, the empirical literature is replete with different and disaggrega