The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, has issued a strong riot act to tax payment defaulters in the nation’s capital, warning them to desist from such menace, as it is impeding efforts towards improving the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) revenue base of the Territory.
Bello noted that their actions are not only morally wrong as they ride on the sweat of others but are also serious criminal offences for which they can face very severe penalties on their conviction.
He made this point in his keynote address delivered by the FCT Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola, yesterday, at a town hall meeting organized by the FCT Internal Revenue Service (FCT-IRS), aimed at enlightening FCT residents and other stakeholders on the processes involved in the issuance of Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC), in Abuja.
He reiterated that if the relevant authorities of the FCT Administration are to continue to provide world-class infrastructure for the city, they need a greatly improved revenue base which can only be attained by a robust tax policy where all who call FCT home also contribute through taxes to her development.
“As residents and business owners, you have a sacred responsibility of paying your tax to help the Administration in ensuring the FCT that we desire.
“I, therefore, use this opportunity to send a note of strong warning to tax evaders to desist from their actions”, he stressed.
Efforts of the F.C.T IRS
According to him, the efforts of the FCT IRS, with the cooperation of residents of the FCT have ensured that the FCT is the second highest internally generating sub-national in the country.
He, however, noted that the FCT Administration is not unmindful of complaints about multiple
taxation and other sundry challenges in the FCT tax regime.
“This matter is also of grave concern to us and we are taking measures to resolve the issue because it also impacts negatively on our efforts of encouraging investment in the Territory.
“I, therefore, commend the Ag. Executive Chairman and management of the FCT -IRS for the initiative of holding this public gathering that will enable residents and other stakeholders to fully grasp the import of this tax policy which is designed to ultimately benefit us all”.
Earlier, in his welcome address by the Ag. Executive Chairman FCT-IRS, Haruna Y. Abdullahi, said while working towards ensuring the provision of Taxpayer-centric services, it will not hesitate to take punitive measures on defaulters of the law.
Abdullahi, however, urged FCT residents and other stakeholders to choose voluntary compliance over compulsion, which would be the last resort.
He said the growth and development of the FCT can easily be achieved when residents of the FCT pay their taxes as and when due.
According to him, “the demand and verification of tax clearance affect specific transactions required by individuals (residents of FCT) from FMDAs, FCT-SDAs and Financial Institutions to mention a few.
“Consequently, the failure to demand and verify a Tax Clearance Certificate presented by an individual is liable to sanctions and possible conviction with a fine of N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira) or three years imprisonment or both the fine and imprisonment according to the relevant tax laws.
“As the relevant tax authority for Personal Income Tax administrations, we have a vital role to play in ensuring strict adherence to the contents of this publication.
“To this end, the FCT-IRS has trained its staff on effective monitoring and enforcement procedures as well as investigation for violations of any aspect of the tax laws”.
Those who graced the occasion include the Chairmen of FCT Area Councils, representatives from CBN, FMSDAs, FCT-SDAs, and Corporate and financial institutions.