The Federal Government has announced that it will recruit 7,500 graduates as Community Tax Liaison Officers to raise tax awareness among citizens.
The announcement was made on Thursday in a joint statement by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, and the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr BabaTunde Fowler, in Abuja.
The finance minister said that the recruits would 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.
Adeosun further said that through this initiative, the government is expected 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 stand to receive performance-based incentives measured by the number of people they enrolled during the two year period.
Lending voice on the development, the FIRS chairman reiterated that tax evasion was a punishable offence in the country.
He said that the tax tribunal was being reconstituted as tax dodgers would be prosecuted.
NAN quoted Fowler as urging citizens to be law abiding and pay their tax.