By Matthew Denis
The Kwara State Chairman, Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN), Pastor Abel Aiyedogbon has cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari against politicising the Executive Order eight.
President Buhari had last Monday signed into law the Executive Order eight tagged Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularisation Scheme (VOARS) to make money laundering and tax evasion difficult.
Speaking to Pilot Business in Ilorin at the weekend, the chairman said that if the Executive Order was politically motivated, it would not achieve the desired result.
He said: “The Executive Order is new to us in Nigeria but in advanced countries it is compulsory, especially in United Kingdom for residents that have assets and income to pay appropriate taxes.
“So, it is a right step in the right direction depending on the way the government wants to pursue it. If it has political motify it will not achieve the desired objective but if it is strictly for economic reasons I can say it will yield positive result.”
He noted that the development was not well received by some Nigerians because they believe there is a political undertone to it.
“The noise over the Executive Order 008 is perhaps as a result of the media hype because we had it during the tenures of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan and it did not generate controversies.
“Perhaps people are suspecting political undertone and given the fact that it is coming at a time when the 2019 general elections is approaching. Otherwise, it is normal for any government to introduce Executive Order. “
Aiyedogbon, however, explained that the regularisation of offshore assets is a step in the right direction towards generating revenue from taxes levied on Nigerians investing abroad.
Aiyedogbon explained that despite divergent views by Nigerians, the constitution permits the President to introduce Executive Order for growth of the economy.
The ICAN boss noted that the order will prevent capital flight, adding that “it will equally help the system, because there are so many of our political leaders whose businesses are abroad but they will now have to pay tax.
On the activities of ICAN, the chairman said that as part of their social responsibilities, they have visited and distributed items to school for special needs and motherless babies homes.
He added that their focus for the remaining part of 2018 is ‘ catching them young programme’ aimed at educating the students on ICAN.