Last week, the internet was abuzz with the Forbes revelation that 5 out of the world’s top 10 richest pastors are Nigerian – click here if you missed it.
Sitting at the top of the list with $150 million is David Oyedepo, Bishop of Living Faith Church, better known as “Winners Chapel”.
Reuters examined this phenomenon in a recent article, stating,
“…”megachurches”… form a huge, untaxed sector of Africa’s top economy. Hundreds of millions of dollars change hands each year in these popular Pentecostal houses of worship.”
For the article, they spoke with the Bishop, who had the following to say about his estimated net worth and if churches should be taxed, (a recent topic at the National Conference),
About Forbes Estimation of his Net Worth
“For me, to have fortune means someone who has what he needs at any point in time. I don’t see myself as having $150 million stacked up somewhere. Whatever way they found their figures, I am only able to say I am blessed by the Lord.”
Should Nigerian Churches be Taxed?
“There is no single government input on this premises,” (BN Editor’s Note: referring to Canaanland, the church’s headquarters & Covenant University campus)
Oyedepo told Reuters ,“We supply our water, we make our roads, then you … say: ‘Let’s tax them’. For what?”
The Reuters article claimed Jonathan will not address the tax issue before the upcoming elections, “it is debatable whether President Goodluck Jonathan, who is close to several megapastors, would risk upsetting these influential men and their hefty congregations with a fat tax bill.”
BN-ers what’s your take? Should churches pay tax? Or do they need all their income to continue to contribute to our society (jobs, schools etc) ?