- FG’ll Prosecute Tax Defaulters Who Shun VAIDS – Adeosun
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, on Tuesday said that the Federal Government would prosecute tax defaulters who fail to take advantage of the nine-month amnesty period offered under the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme.
The VAIDS was established on June 29, 2017 via an Executive Order signed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was then Acting President, as a broad spectrum solution to virtually all the defects in the country’s tax system, including negativity towards taxation.
The first phase of VAIDS runs from July 1, 2017, while the second phase ends on March 31, 2018.
According to her, sanctions await defaulters who refuse the Federal Government’s offer of amnesty, including the full payment of outstanding tax liabilities and criminal prosecution.
She stated that businesses, which untruthfully comply, would be liable as whatever was paid on the declared liabilities would be considered as part-payment of the outstanding sums later discovered by the authorities.
Adeosun advised Nigerians to review any existing tax planning schemes, including those in offshore tax havens, in order to take advantage of the VAIDS to regularise their tax status where necessary.
She stated that while the use of tax avoidance schemes was legal, tax evasion was not.
Adeosun said, “The critical question to be asked of all Nigerian taxpayers using offshore tax shelters will be whether all applicable taxes have been paid prior to the transfer of funds or assets to a tax shelter.
“If all taxes had been paid, then there will be no additional liability except tax payable on further income earned on those funds. However, if taxes had not been paid, then the use of such schemes is illegal.”
She urged users of offshore tax shelters to promptly embrace the VAIDS scheme to regularise their status, adding that Nigeria’s low tax revenues were at variance with the lifestyles of a large number of its citizens and with the value of assets known to be owned by Nigerians resident around the world.
The minister added, “The VAIDS ushers in an opportunity to increase the nation’s general tax awareness and compliance. It is a time-limited opportunity for taxpayers to regularise their tax status relating to previous tax periods.
“In exchange for fully and honestly declared previously undisclosed assets and incomes, taxpayers will benefit from forgiveness of overdue interest and penalties, and with further assurance that they will not face criminal prosecution for tax offences or be subject to tax investigations.”
Adeosun explained that with the increasing global focus on illicit financial flows and tax evasion, offshore tax shelters no longer offered robust protection against tax authorities.
She added that the continued use of such schemes posed enormous risks for the users.
Meanwhile, the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme Office has launched a video campaign to create awareness about the programme, promote voluntary tax compliance and boost tax education among Nigerians.
This was disclosed in a statement by the initiator of the programme, the VAIDS Office domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Finance.
According to the statement, the campaign on YouTube at bit.ly/VAIDSVideos, features short videos and skits depicting various scenarios of persons attempting to evade their taxes.
By its provision, the VAIDS gives tax defaulters a time-limited opportunity to regularise their tax affairs by truthfully declaring and paying outstanding liabilities.
The VAIDS was conceived by the Federal Ministry of Finance in collaboration with federal and state tax authorities to correct the defective tax orientation in the country and reflects the desire of the Federal Government to widen the tax net, while offering benefits to defaulters, who voluntarily and truthfully declare their assets and pay tax liabilities.
Benefits accruable to individuals and corporate bodies, who comply with the VAIDS include immunity from prosecution, tax audits as well as waivers of interest and penalties on unpaid taxes. They also include the option of spreading outstanding liabilities over a maximum period of three years as may be agreed with the relevant tax authorities.
Seplat Petroleum Pays US$564.165 Million to Federal Government in 2020
Seplat Petroleum, an indigenous Nigerian upstream exploration and production company, announced it paid a total sum of US$564.165 million to the Federal Government in 2020.
In the report on payments made available to the Nigerian Stock Exchange and seen by Investors King, Seplat Petroleum paid US$389.576 million to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as production entitlement in 2020.
Production entitlement is the government’s share of production in the period under review from projects operated by Seplat.
This comprises crude oil and gas attributable to the Nigerian government by virtue of its participation as an equity holder in projects within its sovereign jurisdiction (Nigeria).
Also, Seplat paid US$130.009 million to the Department of Petroleum Resources in 2020. A breakdown of the amount showed US$111.633 million was paid as royalties while US$18.376 million was paid as fees.
Similarly, US$579,361 was paid as a fee to the Nigeria Export Supervision Scheme.
The energy company made another payment of US$17.935 million in fee for 2020.
While the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board received US$4.826 million in fee from Seplat in 2020.
Seplat paid US$21.239 million in taxes to the Federal Inland Revenue Service in 2020.
Therefore, Seplat Petroleum paid a total sum of US$564.165 million to the Federal Government in the 2020 financial year. See the details below.
FIRS Sets N5.9 Trillion Revenue Target for 2021
FIRS to Generate N5.9 Trillion Revenue in 2021
Mohammed Nami, the Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, on Friday said the agency is projecting total revenue of N5.9 trillion for the 2021 fiscal year.
Nami stated this while meeting with the House of Representatives Committee on Finance led by Hon. James Falake on the Service’s 2021 budget defence of its proposed Revenue and Expenditure Estimates.
According to the Chairman, N4.26 trillion and N1.64 trillion were expected to come from non-oil and oil components, respectively.
However, Nami put the cost of collecting the projected revenue at N289.25 billion or 7 percent of the proposed total revenue for the year, higher than the N180.76 billion spent in 2020 to fund the three operational expenditure heads for the year.
He said: “Out of the proposed expenditure of N289.25 billion across the three expenditure heads, the sum of N147.08 billion and N94.97 billion are to be expended on Personnel and Overhead Costs against 2020 budgeted sum of N97.36 billion and N43.64 billion respectively. Also, the sum of N47.19 billion is estimated to be expended on capital items against the budgeted sum of N27.80 billion in 2020. The sum is to cater for on-going and new projects for effective revenue drive.”
Speaking on while the agency failed to meet its 2020 target, Nami said “There’s lockdown effect on businesses, implementation directive also for us to study, research best practices on tax administration which involves travelling to overseas and we also have to expand offices and create offices more at rural areas to get closer to the taxpayers, we pay rent for those offices and this could be the reason why all these things went up.
“And if you have more staff surely, their salary will go up, taxes that you’re going to pay on their behalf will go up, the National Housing Fund contribution, PENCOM contribution will go up. Those promoted you have to implement a new salary regime for them. There’s also the issue of inflation and exchange rate differential”, he said.
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.
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