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FG Grants Tax Defaulters Nine-month Amnesty



yemi osinbajo
  • FG Grants Tax Defaulters Nine-month Amnesty

The Federal Government on Thursday launched a Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme that would provide an opportunity for taxpayers to regularise their status relating to previous taxes within a period of nine months.

The scheme, which will commence on July 1 this year and will last till March 31, 2018, will enable tax defaulters to benefit from the forgiveness of overdue interest, penalties and the assurance that they will not face criminal prosecution or be subjected to investigations.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, who launched the new tax initiative at the Banquet Hall of the State House in Abuja, also signed an Executive Order to back the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme.

The signing of the Executive Order was witnessed by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, and governors of Ogun, Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states, among other top government officials.

Osinbajo said the new initiative was targeted at increasing tax awareness and compliance, as well as grant taxpayers a time-limited opportunity to regularise their status without penalty.

He said the scheme, to be jointly executed by the federal and state governments, would concentrate on the obligations of all Nigerian companies and citizens to pay their taxes wherever their income was earned, wherever they resided and no matter how rich they were.

He, however, warned that while the scheme would usher in an opportunity to increase the nation’s general tax awareness and compliance, any defaulter who failed to take advantage of the nine months’ period of grace would face the full wrath of the law.

Osinbajo added that while considerable progress had been made with taxing those in formal employment, the self-employed as well as some companies were able to evade full tax payment due to the inability of the tax authorities to assess their true income and thereby tax them accurately.

Quoting statistics from the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Osinbajo stated that out of a total economically active population of 70 million people, the country had only 14 million taxpayers.

He lamented that out of the 14 million taxpayers, only 214 were paying taxes of N20m and above each year, with all of them residing in Lagos.

The acting President said that the number of those paying taxes of N20m and above was low when considered from the fact that the country boasts of a huge number of wealthy people who owned assets all over the world.

Providing further insights into the payment structure of taxpayers in the country, Osinbajo said that only about 914 people pay between N10m and N20m, with 912 of them residing in Lagos, while the remaining two reside in Ogun State.

He regretted that while there was equal spread of high net worth individuals in Nigeria, their level of tax compliance had not been encouraging owing to tax evasion.

Osinbajo stated, “Those who earn salaries that are known in a formal setting are those we know that pay taxes. Outside of that group of people, there are many high net worth individuals, self-employed persons and some companies that are able to evade full tax payment due to the limited knowledge of the tax authorities to assess their true income.

“According to the FIRS, the total number of taxpayers in Nigeria is just 14 million; of this number, 96 per cent of them have their taxes deducted at source from their salaries under the Pay-As-You-Earn system, while just four per cent are under direct assessment.

“So, the vast majority of Nigerians do not pay taxes. This is at variance with our economy where almost 70 million Nigerians are economically active. The statistic of those paying taxes are quite alarming. Despite having some of Africa’s wealthy people, whose lifestyles are the subject of global admiration, only 214 Nigerian pay taxes of N20m or more each year.”

The acting President added, “A personal tax of N20m implies that the person is earning personal income of N80m a year. That group of 214 excludes many names who can pay well over N20m.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.


India, Spain, the Netherlands, USA, Nigeria’s Major Export Markets -NBS



Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers

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.

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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.

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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.”

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