Malam Muhammad Bello, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, has advocated for improved revenue profile for the territory through a robust tax policy.
The minister, who stated this at the FCT Internal Revenue Service (FCT-IRS) Town Hall meeting, on Wednesday in Abuja, said this would enhance infrastructure development in the nation’s capital.
Bello, represented by the Permanent secretary of FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola, explained that the FCT Administration had the mandate to build a capital territory that was comparable to the best in the world.
“For over four decades, we have delivered on this mandate as Abuja has indeed turned out to be a very beautiful city indeed as testified to severally by visitors to the city.
“It must, however, be admitted that if we are to continue to provide world class infrastructure for the city, we need a greatly improved revenue base.
”This can only be attained by a robust tax policy where all who call FCT home also contribute through faxes to her development.”
Bello, however, commended the acting Executive Chairman of FCT-IRS for the initiative of holding public gathering, adding that would enable residents and other stakeholders to fully grasp the import of the tax policy.
The minister said the efforts of the FCT-IRS, with the cooperation of residents
of the FCT, had ensured that the territory was the second highest internally generating sub-national in the country.
“It is, however, quite clear that we have the potentials of being number one with a little bit more effort and commitment from all of us.
“It is only with this show of commitment that we can truly build the FCT of our collective dreams. It is our strong desire to make the FCT a model for excellence in tax matters.
“The attainment of this ideal, we all know, is a function of collective responsibility and hard work.”
The minister explained that the FCT residents and business owners have a responsibility of paying tax to help the administration in developing the city.
“Therefore, I use this opportunity to send a note of strong warning to tax evaders to desist from their actions.
“Not only are their actions morally wrong as they ride on the sweat of others but their actions are also serious criminal offences for which they can face very severe penalties on their conviction.
“We are not unmindful of complaints about multiple taxation and other sundry challenges in our 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,” he said.
Earlier, the acting Executive Chairman of FCT-IRS, Haruna Abdullahi, said that the existing law fully provide for sanction to be meted out to tax defaulters.
”Failure to demand and verify a Tax Clearance Certificate presented by an individual was liable to sanctions and possible conviction with a fine of N5 million or three years imprisonment or both the fine and imprisonment.
” I will urge all residents and relevant stakeholders to choose voluntary compliance over compulsion.
“It is imperative that a Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC) is demanded as a pre-condition for various transactions in the FCT.
”It is instructive to note that the law requires such from Government Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Commercial Banks.”