- Tax Collection: We Must Step Hard on Big Toes
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun has said the Federal Government will have to step on big toes in a bid to block tax revenue leakages and illicit flow of funds out of the country.
Adeosun stated this on Friday while delivering the keynote address at the NSE-Bloomberg CEO roundtable in Lagos.
She said, “We have just 40 million active tax payers out of an estimated 69.9 million who are economically active in Nigeria. And of that 40 million, the majority are PAYE (Pay As You Earn), that is those who have their tax deducted at source.
“Among those who are even paying tax, there is widespread malpractice that results in only part of the actual income being subjected to tax.”
She noted that the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday granted permission for the ministry of finance to sign the global convention on base erosion and profit shifting that allowed companies who generate profits in Nigeria to evade taxes by shifting these profits to countries or jurisdictions where little or no tax was payable.
“These practices harm Nigerians and must stop,” said the minister who described the nation’s tax to Gross Domestic Product ratio of six per cent as one of the lowest levels in the world.
She said, “We have a lot of work to do if we are going to build a sustainable revenue base that we deliver the growth we desire. Even within our tax-paying community, only 214 people in the entire nation pay tax of N120m in spite of having some of the richest people in Africa and some of the best-capitalised companies in Africa; only 214 in the entire country, all of which are in Lagos State.
Adeosun said the issue of tax evasion must be addressed aggressively for the country to grow.
She said, “And to do so, we will have step on some big toes, and we will need to step on them hard. But we really have no choice. For the size of government we have, the size of country we have and the needs we have, government revenue is simply too low.
“Those who have more must carry their fair share of the tax burden, and so to this end, for the last 15 months, we have engaged in a huge data-gathering exercise.”
She said one of the world’s leading investigation agencies was engaged, adding that funds originating in Nigeria to all parts of the world had been traced.
“The illicit flow of funds out of Nigeria harms our nation; it deprives us of essential funds and those same funds are then used to finance development in other nations. This must stop,” Adeosun added.
India, Spain, the Netherlands, USA, Nigeria’s Major Export Markets -NBS
India, Spain and the Netherland top Nigeria’s export markets in the final quarter of 2020, according to the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The Commodity Price Indices and Terms of Trade Q4 2020 report showed that the United States and China trailed the three.
However, the NBS revealed Nigeria exports mainly crude oil and natural gas during the period under review.
It, “The major export and import market of Nigeria in Q4 2020 were India, Spain, the Netherlands, United States and China.
“The major export to these countries were crude petroleum and natural gas. The major imports from the countries were motor spirits, used vehicles, motorcycles and antibiotics.”
The bureau stated that the all-commodity group import index increased by 0.13 per cent between October and December 2020.
“This was driven mainly by an increase in the prices of base metals and articles of base metals (one per cent), boilers, machinery and appliances; parts thereof (1.03 per cent), and products of the chemical and allied industries (0.75 per cent),” it stated.
The NBS, however, noted that the index was negatively affected by animal and vegetable fats and oils and other cleavage products.
Onyeama: Qatar To Invest $5bn In Nigeria’s Economy
The oil-rich state of Qatar is to invest a total of $5 billion in Nigeria’s economy, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Godfrey Onyeama, has disclosed.
Onyeama, who spoke Sunday at a send forth dinner in honour of Nigeria’s Ambassador-designate to the State of Qatar, who is also the outgoing Director of Protocol (DOP) at the State House, Ambassador Yakubu Ahmed, also stated that recent career ambassadorial appointments made by the gederal government was based on merit, experience and professionalism.
The minister further said there had been discussions with Qatar on partnership with Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), for significant investments in the region of $5 billion in the Nigerian economy.
According to him, ‘‘Qatar is a weighty and strategic country and very strategic in that part of the world and we are putting our best feet forward to advance the interest of our country economically and in other areas.”
He recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had visited the State of Qatar in 2016 and the Emir of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hammad Al-Thani, reciprocated with a State visit in 2019.
Onyeama also explained that only trusted hands with a track record of diligence, experience and professionalism in the Foreign Service were recently appointed career ambassadors by the federal government.
The minister said the appointment of Ahmed and other career ambassadors were predicated on posting dedicated and keen Foreign Service practitioners to serve as image makers of the country.
He said: ‘‘Ambassador Yakubu Ahmed is a dedicated professional with a penchant for rigour and detail. He is very capable and one of the best in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is personable, affable, extremely friendly, dispassionate and objective.
‘‘He is going to head a very important mission, a very important country, reckoned to be one of the richest countries in the world, per capita, and there’s a lot we will be doing with the State of Qatar.”
Also speaking, the Deputy Chief of Staff, Adeola Rahman Ipaye, described the honoree as a ‘‘perfect gentleman, very even-natured and always well turned out’’.
Ipaye said he had no doubt that the newly appointed ambassador would serve the country well in Qatar, adding that: ‘‘We are further encouraged that when he completes this assignment, he would return to serve Nigeria in a higher capacity.’’
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, while congratulating the outgoing DOP on his appointment, lauded Ahmed for excellent service to the State House and the nation.
‘‘He served this institution and the nation with the deepest sense of responsibility and it is very important that we establish a tradition where the system appreciates those who have served it well and those who will continue to serve it well,’’ he said.
Umar urged the new envoy to keep very fond memories of his time at the Presidential Villa, assuring him of the prayers and goodwill of all the staff.
Responding, Ahmed thanked President Buhari for the great honour and privilege of making him his principal representative in Doha, Qatar.
The Ambassador-designate pledged to deplore his energy and skill to the promotion of the existing cordial relationship between Nigeria and Qatar, particularly in the areas of economic, political, cultural and consular affairs as well as other key areas.
Ahmed, who joined Nigeria’s Foreign Service in 1993, said during his years in public service he had learnt that ‘‘patriotism, selfless service, diligence, determination and perseverance will always result in the achievement of the desired objective’’.
According to him, these virtues would be his ‘‘watchword’’ in the pursuit of Nigeria’s foreign policy objectives and the attainment of national interests.
The Ambassador-designate singled out for appreciation the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, and the state Chief of Protocol, Ambassador Lawal Kazaure, saying he had learnt a lot working under their mentorship.
He expressed gratitude to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Permanent Secretary, State House for giving him the opportunity of a memorable work experience in the State House.
France, Nigeria to Build New Partnership
France is currently aiming at building a new partnership with Nigeria, with the dispatching of its Minister in charge of Foreign Trade and Attractiveness, Franck Riester, to Nigeria.
Riester, who was expected at the time of filing this report on Monday, is scheduled to visit Nigeria from 12-14 April, 2021.
A statement from the French Embassy in Nigeria said: “Franck Riester is visiting Nigeria from 12 to 14 April, a visit that follows up on the priorities set by French President Emmanuel Macron during his official visit to Nigeria in July 2018 and his desire to build a new partnership between Africa and France.
“As the largest economy in Africa and the economic engine of West Africa, Nigeria is indeed a major partner for France, the first in sub-Saharan Africa with bilateral trade amounting to a total of 4.5 billion USD in 2019 (2.3 billion USD in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic).”
It disclosed that the minister will have several official meetings in Abuja and Lagos, in order to underline the importance of the bilateral economic relationship and to prepare the summit on the financing of African economies in Paris on 18 May.
It revealed that the objective of the mission is also to further strengthen the links between the French and Nigerian private sectors, and “in this regard, the minister will have in-depth discussions with the main Nigerian economic actors to strengthen bilateral cooperation and investments, both in Nigeria and in France, particularly in the logistics sector”.
It said while in the country, the minister would meet with young Nigerian entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative industries sector, to discuss the major role of their country in African creativity and the development of the African entrepreneurial ecosystem, with the support of France.
It further said: “The minister will also open the ‘Choose Africa’ conference, a €3.5 billion initiative by President Emmanuel Macron dedicated to supporting the development of start-ups and SMEs in Africa to enable the continent to benefit fully from the opportunities of the digital revolution.”
Finance2 weeks ago
List of Microfinance Banks’ USSD Codes In Nigeria
Government4 weeks ago
FEC Approves $1.5 Billion For Repair of Port Harcourt Refinery
News4 weeks ago
Focus on bank MDs, Others, Workers Reply EFCC Over Asset Declaration
Government3 weeks ago
US Intelligence Says ISIS and Al-Qaeda Are Planning to Attack Southern Nigeria
Government4 weeks ago
Customers TO Pay N6.98 Per USSD Transaction – CBN, NCC
News4 weeks ago
EFCC Directs Bankers to Declare Assets by June 1
Banking Sector4 weeks ago
GTBank Records N201.4 Billion Profit After Tax in 2020
Fintech4 weeks ago
Stripe’s Valuation Hits $95 Billion After Raising Another $600 Million