In its bid to raise awareness among citizens at all level on the tax system in the country, Federal Government on Thursday in Abuja disclose its plan to recruit 7,500 graduates as Community Tax Liaison Officers (CTLOs)
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, alongside the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Chairman, Mr Babatunde Fowler told journalists during a joint press briefing at the Federal Ministry of Finance in Abuja that the recruits will be expected to go to schools, churches, mosques, markets and other social places to educate people on the tax system and let them know their obligations.
A CTLO is a young Nigerian graduate who has been trained and deployed to a community to raise awareness and educate citizens at all levels on the tax system in Nigeria. She said that through this initiative, the government expects to increase the number of tax payers by 35 per cent, from 14 million to about 17 million in two years.
“We will be recruiting them through N-Power and they can apply through the website of the Federal Ministry of Finance or through the N-Power website.
“It’s a two year fixed contract and they will be deployed to states, attached to state Internal Revenue Service or FIRS. “Their job is to improve the level of education on the Nigeria’s tax system. “Our tax system is progressive, meaning those who earn less should pay less and those who earn more should pay more.
“A lot of people don’t know that. So it’s a chance to get people on ground to answer all these pertinent questions,” she said. Adeosun said that graduates of accounting, economics, mathematics and other relevant courses would be given priority under the programme. She, however, encouraged intelligent graduates interested in a career in tax administration to apply as the government planned to sponsor the recruits to become tax professionals.
“This exercise is extremely important for the fiscal sustainability of states because as you know, most of the revenue for states apart from FAAC is supposed to come from tax.
“So if we improved the number of tax payers, we will be improving the fiscal health of our state governments as well as the Federal Government. “It’s an important initiative for the nation as we undertake reforms to reduce our over dependence on oil.
“We have to make sure that everyone who is economically active pays tax, no matter how little, they have to contribute to the pool,” she said. On the remuneration, Adeosun said the recruits would be paid N30, 000 monthly and they stood to receive performance-based incentives measured by the number of people they enrolled during the two year period.
The Chairman of FRIS reemphasized that tax evasion was a punishable offence in the country. Fowler said that the tax tribunal was being reconstituted as tax evaders would be prosecuted; urging citizens to be law abiding and pay their tax