The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello, has read out the riot act for tax violators, threatening serious sanctions including fines and jail terms.
Bello who laid down the rules at a town hall meeting held in Abuja on Wednesday, said going forward, verification of tax clearance certificates by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), commercial banks and corporate bodies before transactions would be made compulsory by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).
Represented by the FCTA Permanent Secretary, Olusola Adesola, Bello threatened to commence immediate arrest and prosecution of tax evaders in the FCT.
The Minister who further lamented the huge expenditure the FCTA had incurred on provision of infrastructure and essential services, said residents had a lot to gain if taxes were paid regularly.
“I am using 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 conviction.
“As residents and business owners, you have a sacred responsibility of paying your tax to help the administration in ensuring the fact that we desire.
“It is, therefore, imperative that a Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC) is demanded as a pre-condition for various transactions in the FCT and it is instructive to note that the law requires such from Government Ministries, Departments, Agencies and commercial banks.
“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. I would urge all residents and relevant stakeholders to choose voluntary compliance over compulsion,” he stated.
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