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FG Approves N1.5bn Advert Bill to Drive $1bn Tax Revenue

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  • FG Approves N1.5bn Advert Bill to Drive $1bn Tax Revenue

In pursuit of its vision to diversify the economy and discourage Nigeria’s reliance on oil as the mainstay of the economy, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) wednesday approved N1.5 billion to drive projected $1 billion tax revenue within nine months.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who made this disclosure while briefing State House correspondents at the end of yesterday’s weekly FEC meeting, said the N1.5 billion is meant to run advertisement campaigns intended to promote Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS).

VAIDS, according to the Ministry of Finance, is a platform designed to provide tax payers with the opportunity to regularise their tax payments in relation to their previous payments.

Adeosun who said so far, the scheme had helped the federal government to generate $110 million revenue from only two companies, said from the responses received so far, there are expectations that the $1 billion tax revenue target might be exceeded.

“On the amount expected, we projected $1 billion and we have already gotten $110 million and that is just from two companies. So, we feel we might exceed that target,” she said.

According to her, 500 letters had so far been sent out to 500 persons following information obtained about their assets through the bank verification number (BVN), land registry, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The minister who said thousands others are being targeted through the scheme, added that the responses to the 500 letters sent out so far had been encouraging, pointing out that the output of the scheme will stabilise Nigerian revenue irrespective of what the price of oil may be in future.

“On the criteria adopted to get the first 500, what we have done is we got information on land registry details from the state governments and the FCT. We got information from the BVN, registration from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and we began to match them.

“From that, we could see the linkages. So, if someone lives in Lagos and has properties in Kaduna, London et cet era, but only declaring part, with this information, we ‘ll get them. We also look at people who had come out in the Panama and Paradise papers. We look at people who have companies being paid by the government but are not paying the right taxes. Even if you have not gotten a letter yet, do not think we have forgotten you. These are just the first 500. Others will soon follow. It does not mean that we do not have you in our radar. For now, we are looking for the high risk people,” she explained.

On the proposed advertisement campaigns, Adeosun said FEC approval wednesday was for the fallout of the memorandum she presented to drive VAIDS advertisement campaign for nine months, explaining that the campaigns would be run on both print and electronic media as well as the online platforms.

“I presented a memo on the Voluntary Assets Income Declaration Scheme for approval of the sum of N1.5 billion to cover advertising campaign for nine months on Radio, TV, online, newspapers including center spread. I also briefed FEC on the progress under the tax amnesty and it has been very well received.

“We have people who are ready to declare and pay. We sent out over 500 letters under the first batch, but there are thousands of Nigerians being targeted but the first 500 letters have gone out. We have started to get responses back and many people are asking for time to pay. Most of the governors have agreed to give more time for people to make arrangements for payments.

“This is indeed very good news for Nigeria as it will help reduce over reliance on oil. It will improve our tax revenue so that whether oil prices are high or low, we will be able to provide basic services for our people. Very high net worth people are now being brought into the tax revenue profile. We hope to exceed the target that has been set,” she stated.

Furthermore, the minister said governors had been contacted to assist in making the scheme effective, observing that some personal income taxes find their ways into state government accounts.

“We met the governors just two days ago and they all agreed because personal income taxes are also going to the state government coffers. They also agreed to accommodate those who agree they are owing but haven’t got the cash to pay. “Somebody might have the house but may not have the cash. Let’s give them chances to bring this money because this money is sustainable money and we have asked that they give them time to bring in this money and they have agreed to do so. From now on, they are ready to pay their right taxes,” she further explained.

Adeosun also disclosed that the sum of N421.3 million had been approved for payment of commission to whistle blowers in the month of November. According to her, only whistle blowers who signed the required agreement will be paid, adding that the tax had been deducted from the sum ahead of payment.

“The total amount, which also includes that of Osborne Road, Ikoyi, is N421,330,595 and this is for the November batch and it is ready for payment. The only condition necessary is
that the money will be paid to the whistleblower who signed the agreement, not to any company.

In his own briefing, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, said FEC had also approved N1.712 billion for payment to the contractor who has managed the 75 kilometre Gurara dam pipeline project in the FCT for nine years .

According to him, the sum would be shared by the Ministry of Water Resources and the Ministry of Federal Capital Territory on 50:50 ratio.

“He (the contractor) has been maintaining the pipeline in the last nine years without any compensation and as part of our policy to tidy up loose ends pertaining to ongoing projects or completed projects, we decided to disengage the contractor to pay him off for his services and to take over full control of the pipeline.

“So, we negotiated with the contractor for a fee to be paid to him for the service he rendered over the last nine years and we agreed that this money will be shared 50:50 between the Ministry of Water Resources and the Ministry of Federal Capital Territory.

“So, the total amount is N1.712 billion over the course of nine years and the Ministry of Water Resources will pay 50 per cent of that and the Federal Capital Territory will pay the remaining 50 per cent and we all have made provisions for this money under the 2017 budget,” Adamu said.

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

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FG Reopens Osubi Airport Warri for Daylight Operations

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FG Reopens Osubi Airport Warri for Daylight Operations

The Federal Government on Monday said the Osubi Airport in Warri has been reopened for daylight operations.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Siriki, disclosed this in a tweet.

The airport was closed in February 2020 over mismanagement and debt allegation involving aviation service providers and airport management.

However, Oberuakpefe Afe, a lawmaker representing Okpe/Sapeie/vaie federal constituency, recently moved a motion for the Federal Government through the ministry of aviation and relevant authorities to reopen the airport for flight operations.

On Monday, Hadi Siriki said “I have just approved the reopening of Osubi Airport Warri, for daylight operations in VFR conditions, subject to all procedures, practices and protocols, including COVID-19, strictly being observed. There will not be need for local approvals henceforth.

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Nigerian Brand, JR Farms Acquires 11% Stake in Rwandan Firm

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Nigerian Brand, JR Farms Acquires 11% Stake in Rwandan Firm

JR Firms, an agribusiness firm with headquarters in Nigeria, has announced partnership with Sanit Wing Rwanda through the acquisition of 11 per cent stake in the company.

The CEO of the company, Mr Rotimi Olawale, explained in a statement that the partnership was in furtherance of its goals to ensure food security, create decent jobs and raise the next generation of agrarian leaders in Africa.

The stake was acquired through Green Agribusiness Fund, an initiative of JR Farms designed to invest in youth-led agribusinesses across Africa.

Sanit Wing Rwanda is an agro-processing company that processes avocado oil and cosmetics that are natural, quality, affordable, reliable and viable.

The vision of the company is to become the leading producers of best quality avocado and avocado by-products in Africa by creating value across the avocado value chain.

With focus on bringing together over 20,000 professional Avocado farmers on board and planting of three million avocado trees by 2025 through contract farming, the company currently works with One Acre Fund in supply of avocado to its processing facility.

The products of the company which include avocado oil, skin care (SANTAVO), hair cream and soap are being sold locally and exported to regional market in Kenya.

With the new partnership with JR Farms- the products of the company will enjoy more access to markets focusing on Africa and the European Union by leveraging on partnerships and trade windows available.

Aside funding, the partnership comes with project support in areas of market exposure, capacity building, exposure and other thematic support to grow the business over the next four years.

JR Farms has agribusiness operations in Nigeria, Rwanda, United States and Zambia respectively.

In Nigeria, the company deals in cassava value chain processing cassava to national staple “garri” which is consumed by over 80 million Nigerians on daily basis, while in Rwanda, it works in the coffee value chain with over 4,000 coffee farmers spread across the East Central African country.

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Shut Down Depots Selling Petrol Above Approved Price – Marketers

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Shut Down Depots Selling Petrol Above Approved Price – Marketers

The Federal Government should close down depots that are selling petrol above the approved price, oil marketers said on Thursday.

National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Sanusi Fari, said the sale of petrol above government approved price by depot owners would soon lead to a hike in the commodity’s pump price.

Fari told journalists in Abuja that the government through its agencies such as the Department of State Services and the Department of Petroleum Resources should curb the development to avoid crisis in the downstream oil sector.

He said some private depot owners were selling at N165 per litre to independent marketers, way above the government stipulated price of N148 per litre.

Fari said, “Our challenge is the inconsistency in the pricing of petrol. Up till a week ago, government was still insisting that the February price for petrol remained unchanged.

“And most of the private depot owners are selling above the government stipulated price. As at today ( February 25, 2021) private depot owners are selling at N165 per litre to independent marketers.”

He added, “In the last six years, only NNPC imports refined products into this country and these tank farms buy their products from NNPC under a controlled price.

“This has affected our businesses seriously because government is insisting that we sell at the rate of N165, which is not going to work.”

The IPMAN president said filling station owners buy the product at N165 per litre from the private depots and incur other expenses such as transportation, rent, etc.

“So government cannot expect us to sell less than what we buy,” he said.

Fari added, “This is why we are calling on government and agencies that are saddled with the responsibility to control petrol pricing to urgently clamp down on depots that are selling above the stipulated price.”

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the country’s sole importer of patrol, recently stated that it never hiked the cost of petrol to depots.

It also enjoined the depot owners to sell the product at the approved rate and called on the DPR to enforce the stipulated price across the depots.

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