APC, LP Backs Taxation and Political Party Membership Dues

The ruling All Progressives Congress and Labour Party have thrown their weight behind the proposed bill seeking to stop politicians guilty of tax evasion from running for elective offices in the country.

The endorsement comes in the wake of Friday’s announcement by the Chairman of the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee, Taiwo Oyedele, that the executive bill is scheduled to be passed in the National Assembly.

Oyedele disclosed that an amendment to the existing tax law will also be forwarded to the National Assembly to ensure tax compliance and prevent default by the political class.

During the 2024 strategic retreat for staff of the Joint Tax Board, the economist announced that the Federal Government has intentions of implementing a national tax amnesty programme. It was further stated that the programme was designed to provide relief to taxpayers who may have defaulted in the past.

The topic of taxation and political party membership dues is a recurring subject of discussion that surfaces during every major election campaign as candidates strive to outdo one another.

However, Oyedele acknowledged that this argument is rarely convincing since the constitution does not specifically mention compliance with tax regulations as a qualification criterion.

Nze Chidi Duru, the Deputy National Organising Secretary of All Progressives Congress, expressed his satisfaction with the development in an exclusive interview with newsmen on Sunday.

Duru emphasized that tax evasion is a serious offense in any nation, underscoring that it is one of the ways citizens can hold aspiring public officials accountable.

He said, “In any clime, this is not something that should be up for discussion. It is a civic responsibility. If you pay tax, you are now in a position to demand that the government use it for the betterment of the citizens and the improvement of infrastructure and facilities.

“Tax evasion is one of the highest crimes in the part of the world. This is just one of those measures being considered to ensure citizens don’t inculcate the habit of being accountable and holding the state accountable. It is another way of ensuring that people are prevented from taking advantage of the state as it is happening in the country today.

“The highest crime you can commit against a state is not to pay your tax. So it should not just be about people going for elective office.”

Duru had the same opinion as Yunusa Tanko, who is the Chief Spokesman of the Labour Party Campaign Organisation.

However, Tanko expressed concern that despite the bill’s potential, the FG may not be capable of enforcing it.

“The need to bar politicians who are found wanting are things we need to do in our recruitment process. Even before it is presented to the National Assembly, it has already been established as a fact. After all, the law says if you have been convicted, you cannot stand for election.

“The only thing we have not been able to do is to enforce it. This is because anybody can come and raise a bill on anything. But we often fail to enforce that particular law.

“What we need actually is enforcement of the law so that at the end of it all, we are left with clean people who can run for election.”

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