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Defaulters in Final Rush as Tax Amnesty Ends Tomorrow

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  • Defaulters in Final Rush as Tax Amnesty Ends Tomorrow

As the tax amnesty under the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme ends on Saturday, tax defaulters are said to be making last-minute efforts to meet the March 31 deadline.

The VAIDS offers a grace period from July 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018 for tax defaulters to voluntarily pay back to the government what they owe.

In exchange for full and honest declaration, the government promises to waive penalties that should have been levied and also waive the interest that should have been paid on overdue taxes.

Also, those who declare their tax obligations honestly will not be subjected to any investigation or tax audit after the nine-month grace period.

Investigations by our correspondent on Thursday in Abuja revealed that several calls were put through to the VAIDS hotlines by people seeking an extension of the programme.

It was gathered that many tax defaulters, who had thought that the amnesty programme would be extended, were making last minute efforts to key into the scheme.

Sources told our correspondent that many calls were received from taxpayers on Thursday seeking extension of time to complete their VAIDS declaration forms.

Our correspondent was told by one of the VAIDS officials that the number of calls received on the toll-free line between Wednesday and Thursday was overwhelming.

The official, who pleaded not to be named as he was not officially permitted to talk on the issue, said the scheme would officially come to a close on Saturday.

He, however, stated that while the VAIDS office might not be open for business because of the public holidays, those seeking to take advantage of the scheme could do so using the online platform that had been created for asset declaration.

The official explained, “The VAIDS amnesty programme will be officially coming to a close on Saturday and a lot of people have seen the body language of the government that there won’t be any extension.

“As we speak, the level of interest in the last three days has been overwhelming. The number of calls on our hotlines has also increased drastically. This may be as a result of two factors. The first being that March 31, which is the last day, is on a weekend and people want to know if they can be attended to in our offices. The second factor is that there is a public holiday, which has been declared by the Federal Government, and so the office will also be shut.

“But the good thing about the VAIDS is that those who want to take advantage of the scheme can declare online as there is a platform created for that purpose.”

When asked if there were feelers that the Federal Government would extend the scheme, the official said there were no such moves as of Thursday.

The Federal Government, through its data mining agency, Project Lighthouse, had in February received documents on property owners from state governments.

The first set of property owners under scrutiny for tax compliance are those who own choice properties in Lagos and Abuja.

In the Federal Capital Territory, the properties under scrutiny are those located in locations such as Maitama, Asokoro, Garki, and Wuse, among others.

In Lagos State, properties in areas such as Banana Island and environs, Magodo, Lekki, Ikoyi, and Victoria Island, among others, are under scrutiny.

The government has also beamed its searchlight on the North, South-East and South-South states.

It was learnt that tax records and bank account details of the property owners were being reviewed by the Project Lighthouse team.

Findings revealed that state governments, in their collaboration with the Federal Government, had provided electronic searchable database for both individual and corporate property owners.

Some of the information contained in the electronic searchable database are the name of the property owners, plot numbers, locations of the properties and certificates of occupancy numbers.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, had last week said the government would name, shame and prosecute tax evaders who failed to take advantage of the amnesty programme to regularise their tax profiles.

Adeosun had stated that the Federal Government had the political will to prosecute tax evaders once the VAIDS was over by March 31, 2018.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Economy

Federal Government Set to Seal $3.8bn Brass Methanol Project Deal in May 2024

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Gas-Pipeline

The Federal Government of Nigeria is on the brink of achieving a significant milestone as it prepares to finalize the Gas Supply and Purchase Agreement (GSPA) for the $3.8 billion Brass Methanol Project.

The agreement to be signed in May 2024 marks a pivotal step in the country’s journey toward industrialization and self-sufficiency in methanol production.

The Brass Methanol Project, located in Bayelsa State, is a flagship industrial endeavor aimed at harnessing Nigeria’s abundant natural gas resources to produce methanol, a vital chemical used in various industrial processes.

With Nigeria currently reliant on imported methanol, this project holds immense promise for reducing dependency on foreign supplies and stimulating economic growth.

Upon completion, the Brass Methanol Project is expected to have a daily production capacity of 10,000 tonnes of methanol, positioning Nigeria as a major player in the global methanol market.

Furthermore, the project is projected to create up to 15,000 jobs during its construction phase, providing a significant boost to employment opportunities in the country.

The successful execution of the GSPA is essential to ensuring uninterrupted gas supply to the Brass Methanol Project.

Key stakeholders, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board, are working closely to finalize the agreement and pave the way for the project’s advancement.

Speaking on the significance of the project, Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo, emphasized President Bola Tinubu’s keen interest in expediting the Brass Methanol Project.

Ekpo reaffirmed the government’s commitment to facilitating the project’s success and harnessing its potential to attract foreign direct investment and drive economic development.

The Brass Methanol Project represents a major stride toward achieving Nigeria’s industrialization goals and unlocking the full potential of its natural resources.

As the country prepares to seal the deal in May 2024, anticipation grows for the transformative impact that this landmark project will have on Nigeria’s economy and industrial landscape.

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Economy

IMF Report: Nigeria’s Inflation to Dip to 26.3% in 2024, Growth Expected at 3.3%

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IMF global - Investors King

Nigeria’s economic outlook for 2024 appears cautiously optimistic with projections indicating a potential decrease in the country’s inflation rate alongside moderate economic growth.

The IMF’s revised Global Economic Outlook for 2024 highlights key forecasts for Nigeria’s economic landscape and gave insights into both inflationary trends and GDP expansion.

According to the IMF report, Nigeria’s inflation rate is projected to decline to 26.3% by the end of 2024.

This projection aligns with expectations of a gradual easing of inflationary pressures within the country, although challenges such as fuel subsidy removal and exchange rate fluctuations continue to pose significant hurdles to price stability.

In tandem with the inflation forecast, the IMF also predicts a modest economic growth rate of 3.3% for Nigeria in 2024.

This growth projection reflects a cautious optimism regarding the country’s economic recovery and resilience in the face of various internal and external challenges.

Despite the ongoing efforts to stabilize the foreign exchange market and address macroeconomic imbalances, the IMF underscores the need for continued policy reforms and prudent fiscal management to sustain growth momentum.

The IMF report provides valuable insights into Nigeria’s economic trajectory, offering policymakers, investors, and stakeholders a comprehensive understanding of the country’s macroeconomic dynamics.

While the projected decline in inflation and modest growth outlook offer reasons for cautious optimism, it remains essential for Nigerian authorities to remain vigilant and proactive in addressing underlying structural vulnerabilities and promoting inclusive economic development.

As the country navigates through a challenging economic landscape, concerted efforts towards policy coordination, investment promotion, and structural reforms will be crucial in unlocking Nigeria’s full growth potential and fostering long-term prosperity.

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Economy

South Africa’s March Inflation Hits Two-Month Low Amid Economic Uncertainty

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South Africa's economy - Investors King

South Africa’s inflation rate declined to a two-month low, according to data released by Statistics South Africa.

Consumer prices rose by 5.3% year-on-year, down from 5.6% in February. While this decline may initially suggest a positive trend, analysts caution against premature optimism due to various economic factors at play.

The weakening of the South African rand against the dollar, coupled with drought conditions affecting staple crops like white corn and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East leading to rising oil prices, poses significant challenges.

These factors are expected to keep inflation relatively high and stubborn in the coming months, making policymakers hesitant to adjust borrowing costs.

Lesetja Kganyago, Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, reiterated the bank’s cautious stance on inflation pressures.

Despite the recent easing, inflation has consistently remained above the midpoint of the central bank’s target range of 3-6% since May 2021. Consequently, the bank has maintained the benchmark interest rate at 8.25% for nearly a year, aiming to anchor inflation expectations.

While some traders speculate on potential interest rate hikes, forward-rate agreements indicate a low likelihood of such a move at the upcoming monetary policy committee meeting.

The yield on 10-year bonds also saw a marginal decline following the release of the inflation data.

March’s inflation decline was mainly attributed to lower prices in miscellaneous goods and services, education, health, and housing and utilities.

However, core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, remained relatively steady at 4.9%.

Overall, South Africa’s inflation trajectory underscores the delicate balance between economic recovery and inflation containment amid ongoing global uncertainties.

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