by Lekan Olanrewaju
“…most of the social critics who come on television, radio and write in the paper don’t pay tax.”
-President Goodluck Jonathan.
President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday launched a new National Tax Policy. This came as he launched the Unique Tax Identification Number in Abuja before the national economic council meeting.
“Overall, what we seek to achieve with the introduction of the national tax policy is to have a nation and a people who see taxation as a partnership with government,” he said.
He also took advantage of the opportunity to come down on his critics, as according to him, those who speak negatively about his administration must certainly be tax defaulters.
“Of course in this country, most of the social critics who come on television, radio and write in the paper don’t pay tax,” he said. “If at all they want to buy land or one thing or the other and the governor of the state insist they must pay tax, they under-value themselves.”
He also criticised wealthy Nigerians who are willing to spend huge sums on things such as travel expenses, but still fail to pay their taxes saying: “Some Nigerians who travel abroad every month, travel first class pays tax that is not up to the tax a level four officer pays. In other countries, these are criminal offences.”
“We want to create a participatory system of taxation where the tax payers and other stakeholders all see that they all have equal stakes in the tax system,” he continued. “We want to create an economy that is self-sufficient and does not depend wholly on resource wealth to bring development to the people.”
The president declared that the overall intention was to institutionalise a tax culture among Nigerians such that “we see ourselves as custodians of the tax system and our commonwealth.’’