- FG to Name and Shame Tax Defaulters
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, yesterday said the federal government might adopt name-and-shame strategy to expose tax defaulters in the country, just as she decried the fact that only 13 million persons pay tax in Nigeria.
According to Adeosun, out of the 13 million taxpayers, 12.5 per cent are those who pay Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE).
Adeosun said this while addressing journalists at end of the IMF/World Bank spring meetings in Washington DC.
The Nigerian delegation at the meetings included the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola and nine National Assembly members.
Adeosun however, said the government does not intend to introduce new taxes, saying the government would in the coming days enforce compliance aggressively.
“We have about 13 million tax payers in Nigeria and about 12.5 millions are those who have their taxes deducted. Are we saying all the wealth and self-employed are only 500,000? This is not possible. We are going to be more aggressive on tax collection. We are not witch hunting anybody but because we have to redistribute income from the higher to the lower. Those who have been able to get away with it over the years know that the game is up.
“The job of the government is to ensure that it is very difficult to evade tax, we’ve already stated that job. We are gathering data and statistics of over 800,000 companies have been gathered and registered. How was that done? We simply went to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
“Nobody wants to pay tax, so we are going to make it more difficult for people to evade taxes. At every data point of government, we would be picking up data to compare tax. The other thing is there is going to be much more better cooperation from the international community and that is one of the things we have been discussing here in Washington, because a lot of money has left Nigeria,” she explained.
But, the minister said moral suasion would also be used in the process of tax enforcement.
Responding to a question on the huge amount of funds recovered by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) in the last two years, the minister said a central recovery account had been created. Adeosun emphasised that the government was keeping its “eyes on the recoveries.”
According to her, “All the recovered monies go into the recovery account which we reconcile. Now, in the budget, there was the provision that some recovered monies would go into it and that goes into specific projects in the budget and any excess recoveries we have to wait and take some decisions.
“So far, we have not recovered up to the amount we are expecting in the budget. But what we are trying to do is to make sure that there are controls. That was why we created a central recovery account.
“What we also discovered is that so many agencies are recovering and we must keep and eyes on those recoveries, otherwise there is the risk of re-looting.
“So all the agencies that recover send us their returns monthly, we then sweep it into a central account which is kept by the accountant general, so that we can reconcile,” she said.
Furthermore, Adeosun said the meeting on the power sector recovery plan was positive.
“The multilateral agencies have looked at the plan we have put together and they liked it because, as they said — it is realistic. We have really dimensioned all the issues from the Gencos to Discos, to end users, to metering,and one thing that everybody is very clear of, is that it is a big problem.
“So it is a large problem that will take some time to solve, but the most important thing is that there are milestones of what we are expecting to see. The multilateral agencies have pledged their support financially, becauuse those investments are tied to certain results.”
From the impression I got yesterday from those meetings, they were optimistic that if we actually implement what we have planned, and the Minister of Works and Housing was very emphatic that he is going to drive the implementation. I feel quite optimistic that it is realistic.
“We are not saying throw away your generator by December, it is a realistic plan, but it is going to take time. If we have power, a lot of factories that have closed down can re-open. So, it ties with our Economic and Recovery Growth Plan,” she added.
According to Adeosun, the World Bank is also going to provide finance for small businesses run by women in Nigeria.
Report by Kunle Aderinokun, Obinna Chima, Funke Olaode, Kasie Abone and Nosa Alekhuogie, in Washington DC.
Gov Emmanuel Attracts $1.4b Fertilizer Plant to Akwa Ibom
The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has signed an agreement for the citing of a multi billion fertilizer plant in his State.
Governor Emmanuel was part of a Nigerian delegation led by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, that visited Morocco to set out the next steps of the $1.4 Bln fertilizer production plant project launched in June 2018.
The agreement between the OCP Africa, the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority and the Akwa Ibom State Government will birth one of the biggest investments in the fertilizer production industry worldwide.
The signing ceremony took place at the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UMP6).
Mr. Emmanuel signed one of the agreements of the partnership, which covers a memorandum of understanding between OCP Africa, the Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria and the NSIA on land acquisition, administrative facilitation, and common agricultural development projects in the Akwa Ibom State.
Speaking while signing the agreement, Governor Emmanuel said, “Our state is receptive to investments and we are prepared to offer the necessary support to make the project a reality.
“With a site that is suitably located to enable operational logistics and an abundance of gas resources, all that is left is for the parties to accelerate the project development process”, Mr. Udom said.
The agreement reached between the Nigerian Government and the OCP further links OCP, Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN), the NNPC, the Gas Aggregation Company Nigeria (GACN), and the NSIA.
The two partners agreed to strengthen further their solid partnership leveraging Nigerian gas and the Moroccan phosphate.
This project will lead to a multipurpose industrial platform in Nigeria, which will use Nigerian gas and Moroccan phosphate to produce 750,000 tons of ammonia and 1 million tons of phosphate fertilizers annually by 2025.
The visit of the Nigerian delegation to Morocco takes place within the frame of the partnership sealed between OCP Group and the Nigerian Government to support and develop Nigeria’s agriculture industry.
Following the success of the first phase of Nigeria‘s Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) and the progress of the fertilizer production plant project launched in 2018 by OCP and NSIA, the Moroccan phosphates group and the Nigerian government delegation have agreed on the next steps of their joint project which is rapidly taking shape.
Several cooperation agreements were inked on Tuesday at the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) by OCP Africa and the Nigerian delegation. Through these deals, OCP reaffirms its unwavering support of agricultural development initiatives in Nigeria including PFI.
OCP Africa and the NSIA have agreed, inter alia, to set up a joint venture which will oversee the development of the industrial platform that will produce ammonia and fertilizers in Nigeria.
The OCP has also pledged to supply Nigerian famers with quality fertilizers adapted to the needs of their soil at competitive prices and produced locally.
ICPC Says Nigeria Loses $10bn to Illicit Financial Flows
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) says Nigeria accounts for 20 per cent or 10 billion dollars (N3.8 trillion) of the estimated 50 billion dollars that Africa loses to Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs).
Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, said this during a virtual meeting to review a report on IFFs in relation to tax, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, spokesperson for ICPC, said in a statement released in Abuja on Friday.
The ICPC Chairman said, “the African Union Illicit Financial Flow Report estimated that Africa is losing nearly 50 billion dollars through profit shifting by multinational corporations and about 20 per cent of this figure is from Nigeria alone.”
The ICPC boss explained that taxes played “very strategic role in the nation’s political economy.”
He said the objective of the meeting was to improve on the awareness on IFFs, especially in the areas of taxation.
The ICPC boss added that the meeting would give participants the opportunity to openly discuss how to effectively use the instrumentality of taxation to curb IFFs through risk-based approach.
“Risk-based approach, that is: monitoring and audit; due process in tax collection; structured tax amnesty framework skewed in public interest; data privacy; timely resolution of audits and payment of tax refunds and intelligence sharing among revenue generating, regulatory and law enforcement agencies,” he said.
Owasanoye also stated that for the contemporary tax man to remain relevant, he must build his capacity in areas of technology management, solution architects and an astute relationship manager.
The Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Mr Muhammad Nani, expressed concerns that IFFs posed a serious threat to the Nigerian economy as the act robbed the nation of resources that were needed for development.
Nani declared that tackling IFFs would expand the country’s tax base and improve revenue generation, which was required for development.
He consequently pushed for policy reforms that would make it difficult for “capital flights” from occurring so that the country would be placed on the path of growth.
Other discussants at the event identified weak regulatory framework, opacity of financial system and lack of capacity amongst others as some of the factors that fuelled IFFs.
The discussants emphasised the need for capacity building of relevant stakeholders as one of the ways to stamp out illicit financial flows.
They commended ICPC for leveraging its corruption prevention mandate to open a new vista in IFFs discourse in Nigeria. (NAN)
African Development Bank, Egypt Signs Agreements Worth €109 Million to Transform Sewage Coverage in Rural Areas
The African Development Bank Group has signed financing agreements of €109 million with the Government of Egypt to improve sanitation infrastructure and services for rural communities in Luxor Governorate in Egypt’s Upper Nile region.
The financing consists of a €108 million loan from the Bank, and a grant of €1 million from the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI) – an Africa-wide initiative hosted by the African Development Bank.
The funding, provided in a challenging global context, will help meet the Egyptian government’s financing requirements in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and support a sound water and sanitation infrastructure base, a key enabler for the country’s inclusive development.
The Integrated Rural Sanitation in Upper Egypt-Luxor (IRSUE-Luxor) project is set to boost sewage coverage in the region from 6% to 55%, improving the quality of life of citizens, including women and children, who are most affected by poor sanitation.
“Promoting efficient, equitable and sustainable economic development through integrated water resources management is a priority for the Government of Egypt. The IRSUE-Luxor initiative unlocks the socio-economic development potential for inclusive and green growth,” said Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, who signed the agreements on behalf of the Egyptian government.
About 22,000 households (240,000 inhabitants) will benefit from on-site and off-site facilities, through an integrated system of sewerage networks, sludge treatment and wastewater treatment plants.
IRSUE-Luxor contributes to the National Rural Sanitation Program established by the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities, which aims to expand nationwide access to sanitation services from 34% currently to 60% in 2030.
The project also complements the national Haya Karima (Decent Life) initiative that aims to help rural communities across Egypt access essential infrastructure services to improve their living conditions and livelihoods.
Furthermore, the project includes a staff training component to strengthen performance within the Luxor Water and Wastewater Company.
“This intervention is not just about infrastructure development. An essential part of the project is supporting ongoing sector reforms,” said Malinne Blomberg, the Bank’s Deputy Director General for North Africa.
One of several initiatives supported by the African Development Bank in Egypt to optimize the use of the country’s water resources, IRSUE-Luxor will enable about 30,000 cubic meters of treated wastewater per day to be discharged into drainage and irrigation canals and re-used to enhance agricultural output.
The initiative is in line with the Bank’s water sector policy, which promotes efficient, equitable and sustainable development through integrated water resources management. In addition, the operation supports tariff regulation to achieve full cost recovery, which is one of the basic principles of the Bank’s water sector policy.
The partnership between Egypt and the African Development Bank Group dates back more than half a century. More than 100 operations have been deployed, mobilizing more than $6 billion across multiple strategic sectors.
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