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Lawmakers decry yearly loss of N3 trillion to tax evasion

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A group of National Assembly members yesterday said it had formed a coalition to specifically combat the menace of money laundering and cyber crimes in the country.

The coalition, which according to the group has as members the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Revenue Mobilisation and Financial Commission (RMFC), will also help in curbing tax evasion in the country.

The coalition said it would ensure that proper checks and balances are put in place to check tax evasion to which it noted Nigeria was losing N3 trillion yearly.

The co-chairman of the caucus in the House of Representatives, Dr. Aminu Ibrahim Malle, who disclosed this at a press briefing in Abuja yesterday, stressed the urgent need by all stakeholders to close rank and fight the menace.

He noted that there is a serious involvement of both government agencies and private organisations in the manipulation of tax audit that has made Federal Government to loose trillions of naira.

Malle particularly frowned at a situation where some states and Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have not been diligent in remittance of funds.

The lawmaker, who called on the EFCC to strengthen its dragnet on tax evasion, cybercrime and terrorist financing, added that it was noteworthy that the ICPC had recovered some funds within a short period.

Besides, the coalition has lamented the delay by government in redeeming Nigeria from its suspension by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

It said that the suspension had imposed a great level of hardship on Nigeria from the global network of financial integrity.

“Final suspension of Nigeria by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) after having exited it in 2006 might spell doom for the country as all international money transfers, including ATM, may be suspended by FATF,” he added.

Malle, therefore, called on the Federal Government to organise stakeholders’ sensitisation initiatives that will check the excessiveness of corporate organisations involved in the menace.

He also charged members of the coalition to jointly consider the amendment of tax laws and criminal prosecution laws that would strictly criminalise tax evasion as well as introducing compulsory capital punishment on tax evasion.

Malle, who recalled that former President Olusegun Obasanjo had recently blamed Multinational Corporation of not doing enough to support anti-corruption drive of President Buhari administration, said that the legislators should set up legal framework that will assist in tackling the menace.

He specifically decried a situation where a company claims to be making losses, just a reason for not paying tax, yet is paying salary of N300 million to individual member of staff, as well as spending over $300 million to service loans from the mother company.



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