In a report released May 9, 2019, the Nigerian Ministry of Finance has launched the project lighthouse on the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC). The goal of the project is to promote an accurate and useful system for revenue assessment by the Ministry of Finance. According to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, the project would cost ₦710 billion. She added that the project would help in the determination of assets and income status for both corporate and individual taxpayers.
While speaking to the press, Mrs. Zainab said that the project lighthouse is an initiative of the Ministry of Finance. She added that it is a data warehousing system that is integrating relevant tax and related data for accurate and useful revenue assessment. The project according to her would also help in the determination of revenue of corporate and individual taxpayers in the country. The minister said that project lighthouse would improve aggregate data, centralize, and analyze public taxpayer data information using big data analytics.
The data obtained using the project will give the Ministry of Finance a 360 view of the tax situation of any taxpayer, to provide the department with the opportunity to analyze and review the data, and to make an assessment as to whether a taxpayer is compliant or non-compliant. In the end, the project would help the government increase its revenue collection efforts at the federal and the state level through active monitoring.
In the just-concluded meeting of the Nigerian Governors forum, mention was made on the need to sensitize the citizens about how the taxpayers’ money is being used. Many public servants have been wary about paying taxes without improvement in the conditions of living in the country. They are obliged to pay these amount without substantial evidence that can account for these. The government has responded to this by stating that the money was being properly utilized, but the government may not have disclosed as much as the citizens would like to know to them. Nigerians are thought about as dishonest and indifferent to the laws of the country.
In reality, this may not be the case. What Nigerians express is fear, a striking fear that every normal human being would have when you always have to worry that someone was going to get away with playing on your intelligence. There are fears that taxpayers money are used to enrich the politicians who sometimes loot large amount from the government coffers without having to account for it. Does operation lighthouse aims to increase government revenue and in turn improve the standard of living of the entire populace, or is it yet another clever ploy by powerful politicians against poor civil servants and private workers?