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Tie voters’ card to TIN before linking tax to operating accounts—Okpareke

Former Director General , Imo State Investment Promotion Agency (ISIPA), leading oil and gas expert and public affairs commentator, Dr Chinedu Okpareke, has called on the Federal Government to have a rethink ahead of implementing planned tieing of tax clearance and operating of bank accounts in Nigeria from next year.

Recall that the Senate had passed a Financial Bill which provides that Nigerians will start presenting evidence of tax payment in order to operate a bank account, starting from January 2020.

Business Hilights recalls that the Executive Bill was submitted to lawmakers alongside the 2020 budget presented by President Muhammadu Buhari, and its aim is to enhance financial operations in Nigeria and checkmate issues related to tax evasion.

According to the bill, banks will require Tax Identification Number (TIN) from anyone who intends to open accounts with them, while pre-existing customers will also have to provide the TIN before carrying out transactions.

However, speaking in an exclusive interview with our correspondent in Lagos, the former Secretary to Gov Emeka Ihedioha’s Imo Transition Committee (ITC), argued that it would be important that “As the Federal Government is contemplating tieing tax cards (TIN) to operating bank accounts in Nigerian, let it also explore to tie voters card to NIN or tax cards.”

According to him, it would be wiser and result oriented if only those that are captured in tax net are only allowed to elect Nigerian leaders, saying “We want only those who have Nigerian identities and clearly captured in the tax bracket and net are allowed to elect our leaders.”

“We want only those who have been captured in our ID system and who contribute to the commonwealth to elect leaders. Even the young and unemployed should have NIN.

While making it abundantly clear that “Voters’ card is not an ID card,” Dr Okpareke averred that until voters that decide who wins elections in Nigeria are only taxpayers’, street urchins and jobless violent youths will continue to be used by desperate politicians to clinch political positions leaving out genuine development experts during elections.