Home » APC, LP endorse bill seeking to bar tax-evading politicians from elections

APC, LP endorse bill seeking to bar tax-evading politicians from elections

by John Ojewale
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The All Progressives Congress and the Labour Party have thrown their support behind a proposed measure that would prohibit politicians accused of tax cheating from standing for elected office in the country.

The support follows Friday’s announcement by Taiwo Oyedele, Chairman of the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee, that the executive law will be enacted in the National Assembly.

Oyedele also stated that an update to the current tax legislation will be submitted to the National Assembly in order to ensure tax compliance and prevent political default.

Nze Chidi Duru, Deputy National Organising Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, praised the news in an exclusive chat with our reporter on Sunday.

Duru emphasised that tax evasion is a serious crime in any country, and that it is one of the tools that people may use to hold potential political officeholders accountable.

According to him:

“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.”

Yunusa Tanko, Chief Spokesman for the Labour Party Campaign Organisation, echoed Duru’s opinion.

But Tanko voiced concern that, while the law seems encouraging, the FG may be unable to enforce it.

He said:

“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.”

cc: Punch Ng

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