The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has insisted on tax compliance as a recommended prerequisite for clearing aspirants to contest for elective positions.
The FIRS boss, Muhammad Nami made the recommendation in a meeting with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja on Tuesday,
The meeting aimed at collaboration between agencies to ensure tax compliance among candidates in the election was also attended by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
What the FIRS boss is saying
He revealed that the collaborating agencies need to promote policies that strengthen Nigeria’s tax capacity and institutions, citing that tax avoiders should not be trusted with public money in elective positions.
“It is important that political office holders pay their right taxes to enable the tax agencies channel the funds for national development.
“Tax payment has become a secondary matter because some of us are benefiting from social amenities achieved from money from oil,’’ he said.
“The challenge we face as a nation is that the tax Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Nigeria is about the lowest in the whole world.
“We must get our tax right. We must have a reorientation or reconstruction of our tax code.
“Tax compliance is a constitutional obligation and it is our duty to ensure that every eligible citizen pays his or her tax promptly and accurately.
“The 2023 election presents an opportunity for us to ensure the effective compliance of every political actor to showcase his tax agenda as part of the prerequisite for 2023 elections,” Nami said.
He added that candidates with unclear tax status records should not be entrusted with public office, citing that “Tax compliance, therefore, should be approved for holding political office as this is a global practice.”
On his part, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said, “There is no specific law that makes it mandatory for candidates for election to present evidence of payment of tax before they can contest.
“But we understand the importance of this collaboration and we will collaborate with you.
“All candidates for elected offices are required to complete the INEC nomination forms and to swear to an affidavit that they have fully and faithfully provided the requisite information to the commission.
“We will collaborate with sister agencies to provide whatever information you require to facilitate your constitutional roles.”
In case you missed it
Recall Nairametrics reported that The United States government also warned that it will impose visa restrictions on politicians caught promoting electoral violence, a policy it resumed after the 2019 elections.
Download Nairametrics App for breaking news and market intelligence.