APC, LP Back Bill Seeking To Bar Tax-Evading Politicians From Elections

Oyedele revealed plans to amend existing tax laws to ensure political class compliance.

By Musa Ibrahim

The All Progressives Congress and Labour Party have expressed support for a proposed bill aiming to bar politicians found guilty of tax evasion from contesting elective offices in the nation.

This endorsement follows the announcement by Taiwo Oyedele, Chairman of the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee, that the executive bill is set for passage in the National Assembly.

Oyedele revealed plans to amend existing tax laws to ensure political class compliance and prevent default, alongside establishing a national tax amnesty programme.

While acknowledging the ongoing debate surrounding tax and party membership dues during elections, Oyedele admitted the lack of explicit constitutional provisions regarding tax compliance as a qualification criterion.

Reacting to this development, the Deputy National Organizing Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Nze Chidi Duru, welcomed the initiative, emphasizing the importance of holding prospective officeholders accountable and highlighting tax evasion as a serious offense.

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’s sentiment was shared by the Chief Spokesman of the Labour Party Campaign Organisation, Yunusa Tanko.

But Tanko expressed fear that much as the bill appears promising, the FG may not be able to enforce 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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