Common Roots: Ancient Evangelical Future Conference

Nigerian archbishop backs govt plans to tax for-profit churches

The Church of Nigeria will back incoming President Muhammadu Buhari’s plan to tax for-profit enterprises owned by faith groups the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh has told reporters. While buildings and enterprises used to support the mission of the church and charitable endeavours should remain free from state taxation, the archbishop said that enterprises that took advantage of the tax code to register as churches or mosques to shield their income, should pay their fair share of taxes to the government. On 21 May 2015 Archbishop Okoh told reporters in Abuja the Federal Government  had asked the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs to propose guidelines for the regulation and ownership of religious assets. o map out measures for the regulation and ownership of churches and mosques in the country.He stated the review had been prompted by the “one-man ownership of some churches. Since the church is a charity organisation, there is no need to pay tax. But if the church has an establishment that generates income, such a church should pay tax to government.” He added “If any of these organisations have hotels, schools and other outfits like bakery, we have to pay tax.” He also urged the country to give the new administration time to put forward its agenda. “Nigerians should be patient with Buhari, otherwise he will worsen things if Nigerians push him to the wall and rush him into action. Let us give him a year to study the situation and set the agenda properly. It is difficult to fix Nigeria within six months.” However he urged the new government not to wait before it tackled corruption. “Corruption is not something you wipe out within six weeks. Giving Buhari the mandate to wipe out corruption is over-syllabus,” said Archbishop Okoh.


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