The Minister for Finance Mrs Kemi Adeosun has vowed that the Federal Government will shame all tax defaulters after the expiration of the amnesty window. It would be recalled that government recently launched the Voluntary Income and Asset Declaration (VAIDS). While giving a breakdown of the milestones achieved so far, she said;
“ We have had very good responses from companies. So far, we have received $110 million from just 2 companies. One of them paid a liability of $55 million, while the other paid $44 million.”
Findings show that only 241 people in the country were paying above N20 million. South Africa has 950,000 people paying that equivalent amount. Whereas, some of the richest Africans are Nigerians living very good lifestyles, but because the tax system is so lose, people decided not to pay.
Mrs Adeosun however said, the response has been very good because people now know we have the data and we proven that we are ready to use it. So we have given people until March 2018 before we call them tax evaders. After March 2018, we can officially call them tax evaders; hence we can then name and shame them. Candidly, the response has been very good especially from high net-worth people.
“We will name and shame the defaulters after the deadline. We will definitely prosecute them. In addition, the worst court is that of public opinion. So we have about 500 letters ready, when I spoke to two people that I know of the 500 people, they were begging me to give them the letter personally.
The truth is that people don’t want to be embarrassed. Tax evasion is a criminal offence and we will prosecute evaders after March 31, 2018. We have also gotten data from CAC, FIRS, SEC, CBN, Remita, NIBBS, FRSC, NCAA, among others. There is really no hiding place, frankly. We are in no hurry. Nigerians have until March to declare, while the government has from March going forward to prosecute.”