Expert advocates block chain technology to curb tax fraud

The Chief Executive of Kurecion Foundation, Mr Abikure Tega, has called for the use of block chain technology to address fraud in the country´s taxation system.

He made the call on Sunday in Abuja at a training session organised by the foundation for some members of the public on the technology and how they could tap into its facilities.

Tega explained that block chain has the capacity to handle trust which makes it a top choice and the easiest and most efficient infrastructure among users of currencies across the world.

According to Tega, a financial advisor and business mentor, the block chain technology, like the internet, has a built-in robustness that stores blocks of information that are identical across its network.

He said the technology could also be used to address the challenges in agriculture, oil sector, pension and all other government processes.

“The block chain technology is essentially a decentralised transaction ledger in which digital information can be distributed and viewed but not copied or altered.

“It can be used to address complexities in governance and administrative systems,’’ he said.

He said that as a distributed database, it lives across a network of computers which makes it exceptionally secure.

Tega said the block chain stores transaction records in groups called blocks, while each block is time-stamped and added to a chain linked to the previous block.

“It is completely transparent and cannot be changed; it can be used to create a decentralised system of payment where the tax payer has an unhindered access to the collector which is the government.

“It enhances revenue collection and removes the challenges of remittances; everything becomes easy when it is brought to the block chain infrastructure,’’ he said.

He described as unfortunate the fact that Nigeria has the lowest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio between tax collection and its GDP across the world, noting that “not everything collected is usually remitted to government.’’

Tega also noted that the block chain technology had already been tested in some African countries, stressing that all that was needed in Nigeria was government´s political will to embrace it.

“We are saying that this technology is already here with us and we can deploy it for our own advantage.

“So I am calling on the government to see the possibilities and to have an open mind to innovation technology.

“In the next 10 years, any system that is not on block chain would be considered a fraud because of its height of transparency and immutability,’’ he said.

Tega said that the block chain infrastructure would also help government to block leakages in the country´s taxation process while enhancing its operations.

He further said that the technology could be used to address issues of electoral malpractices and to capture a high level of votes without any form of interference by decentralising the voting system.

“This means that from wherever you are across the country and the world, if the system shows that you are a Nigerian through imputed data, you can vote.

“With the technology, wherever you are, you don´t need to go to a polling unit, the moment you put in your vote, everybody can see that you have voted.

“And once your vote is put in, it cannot be hacked by any means.

“I believe the simple thing to do is for government to take election to block chain instead of setting up committees to curb election malpractices,’’ Tega said.

He decried the lack of sufficient start-up funds for businesses in Nigeria and Africa generally, stressing that most businesses in the continent were not given opportunities to be innovative, resulting in death of creativity.

Tega said Kurecoin foundation was creating the largest business community in Africa and had put in place a grant for start-ups with ideas on information and financial technology among others to scale up businesses.

He said that the foundation was also educating people about where new start-ups could get funding.

The expert urged government to encourage creativity in its efforts to create and ensure the right regulatory frameworks to govern the business sector.

“There is a thin line between monitoring, controlling and killing creativity.

“Government should have an open mind so that the new ideas and innovations that are coming into financial processes, banking and real estate essays are not killed,’’ Tega said. (NAN)

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