To become a member of the Federal Executive Council, Adebayo Shittu, Nigeria’s communications minister recently exposed for failing to take part in the national youth service, submitted to the Nigerian Senate a receipt of N5,000 as proof of his tax compliance for three years, PREMIUM TIMES reports.
According to the online Newspaper, the paltry amount was paid to the Oyo State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development for ‘miscellaneous services’ in March 2014, this website found during a review of the credentials the minister submitted to the Nigerian Senate.
Mr Shittu attached the receipt to a 10-page profile he submitted to the Senate in October 2015 for screening following his ministerial nomination by President Muhammadu Buhari. The minister failed to square up, even by a small percentage, with his cabinet colleagues like Ibe Kachikwu, who paid N52.8 million in personal income taxes in three years from 2012 to 2014, or Okechukwu Enelamah, who paid almost N8 million in the same period.
Like Mr Shittu, Messrs Kachikwu and Enelamah became ministers in 2015 directly from the private sector, even though the cabinet is packed with people from the public sector, including former governors, senators and other top government office holders.
Mr. Shittu did not appear to have any tax identification number as of the time he paid the N5,000 to the town planning office in 2014, indicating he might not have been a regular taxpayer. The minister did not present any evidence of three-year compliance because his N5,000 receipt did not carry his earnings for the period.
He was able to get away with the scandalous tax receipt despite claiming in his curriculum vitae that he had been the chairman of Al-Furqaan Petro-Gas & Gen. Services Ltd. from 2000 until his ministerial nomination 15 years later. The minister also said at the time that he was founder and proprietor of Al-Furqaan International College from 2002 until his nomination.
To be considered for government contracts and appointments into government positions, beneficiaries are usually expected to present evidence of tax payments for the preceding three years. Ministerial nominees are usually expected to fulfil that requirement as proof that they are responsible citizens worthy of being trusted with government positions. It was to fulfil that requirement that Mr. Shittu sumbitted a N5000 receipt.