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FIRS Collects N13bn From Billionaire Tax Defaulters

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  • FIRS Collects N13bn From Billionaire Tax Defaulters

Less than a month after it commenced its substitution of accounts of recalcitrant billionaires who have not been paying commensurate taxes, the Federal Inland Revenue Service has announced the collection of N12.66 in tax revenue from this category of Nigerians.

The Executive Chairman, FIRS, Tunde Fowler, stated this on Friday when he received the new Minister of Finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, during her spot visit to the Revenue House in Abuja, according to a statement made available to our correspondent on Sunday.

Fowler told the minister that the initiative had pooled about N12.66bn into the government coffers.

He stated, “The FIRS wrote to all commercial banks in May 2018 requesting for a list of companies, partnerships, and enterprises with banking turnover of N1bn and above. This activity is aimed at ascertaining those companies that are compliant with the tax laws and those that are not compliant. So far, the non-compliant organisations have paid about N12.66bn

“The FIRS will continue to implement initiatives that will drive compliance and generate revenue by continuous taxpayer enlightenment; implementation of the Auto VAT Collect in other sectors of the economy; simplification of the tax processes, especially for small taxpayers; strengthening collaboration with other agencies such as the Corporate Affairs Commission, states’ boards of internal revenue; Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment; and the Nigeria Customs Service.”

The minister commended the agency for raising the non-oil revenue, saying, “The Ministry of Finance will continue to work collaboratively with the FIRS to support all the efforts that you are making. And as much as possible, we should interface frequently.

“For us, the directive I have is to increase the tax revenue and that is the most important task ahead of all of us. You have done well. And the reward for good work is more work.”

Ahmed urged the FIRS to maintain the tempo, as the entire country depended on its work of increasing revenue collection to support the government.

She urged government agencies to work together to detect and expose all corrupt persons in the country, stating that this was President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive.

Ahmed stated, “The FIRS is a very important agency of government. I want to underscore this importance. The FIRS is one of the first agencies in the Ministry of Finance that I am meeting. The Federal Government’s Medium Term Plan is hinged on diversifying the economy away from oil revenues to non-oil revenues. And the report that the executive chairman of the FIRS has presented indicates that the diversification effort is working. This is reflected in the contribution of non-oil revenues over the last three years.

“I am happy that we have a team in the FIRS that is not only expanding the revenue base, but also significantly improving tax collection and taking tax offices closer to the people, and making it easier for the people to pay their taxes by online and e-tax payment procedures that you have undertaken. And I am sure, from what I have heard today, that you would continue with all these processes.”

She added, “I am also glad that you are increasing cooperation with several agencies like the EFCC, ICPC and Nigeria Customs Service. This is important because the directive from the President on anti-corruption involves cooperation within yourselves as well as with anti-corruption agencies. It makes a lot of sense to prioritise tax collection to larger categories, from the big ones to other ones.

“The effort you are making in Abuja, Lagos and Osun (on payment of taxes on property using turnover as basis for assessment) is a commendable one and I encourage you to maintain the tempo in generating tax revenues.”

The minister stated that the country needed to continue with the efforts to strengthen the non-oil sector, stating that the part that the FIRS should play was to continue with its efforts so that the non-oil sector would generate larger part of the tax revenue on sustainable basis.

The FIRS chairman also told the minister that the agency realised the sum of N2.983bn from payment on demand notices from property owners, who were being assessed based on their turnover, and that 653 of 2,672 property owners had starting filing now.

From enforcement, Fowler said the FIRS had collected a total of N47.5bn from 2016 till date and $32.8m, £5.9m, netted N225bn from audit, and collected more than N1tn above its January to August collection for last year.

He stated that Value Added Tax receipt was on a steady increase, adding, “So far in 2018, the FIRS has collected N773.49bn in eight months. The above collected this year has already surpassed that of 2015 (N767.33bn), and is set to surpass that of 2016 (N828.19bn) and 2017 (N972.30bn) with four more collection months left in the year.

“E-stamp duties’ collection is on a steady increase. So far in 2018, the FIRS has collected N10.10bn in eight months. The above collected this year has already surpassed that of 2017 (N10.9bn), 2016 (N5.6bn), and 2015 (N7.1bn)”, Fowler 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.

Economy

Gov Emmanuel Attracts $1.4b Fertilizer Plant to Akwa Ibom

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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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Economy

ICPC Says Nigeria Loses $10bn to Illicit Financial Flows 

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) says Nigeria accounts for 20 per cent or 10 billion dollars (N3.8 trillion) of the estimated 50 billion dollars that Africa loses to Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs).

Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, said this during a virtual meeting to review a report on IFFs in relation to tax, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, spokesperson for ICPC, said in a statement released in Abuja on Friday.

The ICPC Chairman said, “the African Union Illicit Financial Flow Report estimated that Africa is losing nearly 50 billion dollars through profit shifting by multinational corporations and about 20 per cent of this figure is from Nigeria alone.”

The ICPC boss explained that taxes played “very strategic role in the nation’s political economy.”

He said the objective of the meeting was to improve on the awareness on IFFs, especially in the areas of taxation.

The ICPC boss added that the meeting would give participants the opportunity to openly discuss how to effectively use the instrumentality of taxation to curb IFFs through risk-based approach.

“Risk-based approach, that is: monitoring and audit; due process in tax collection; structured tax amnesty framework skewed in public interest; data privacy; timely resolution of audits and payment of tax refunds and intelligence sharing among revenue generating, regulatory and law enforcement agencies,” he said.

Owasanoye also stated that for the contemporary tax man to remain relevant, he must build his capacity in areas of technology management, solution architects and an astute relationship manager.

The Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Mr Muhammad Nani, expressed concerns that IFFs posed a serious threat to the Nigerian economy as the act robbed the nation of resources that were needed for development.

Nani declared that tackling IFFs would expand the country’s tax base and improve revenue generation, which was required for development.

He consequently pushed for policy reforms that would make it difficult for “capital flights” from occurring so that the country would be placed on the path of growth.

Other discussants at the event identified weak regulatory framework, opacity of financial system and lack of capacity amongst others as some of the factors that fuelled IFFs.

The discussants emphasised the need for capacity building of relevant stakeholders as one of the ways to stamp out illicit financial flows.

They commended ICPC for leveraging its corruption prevention mandate to open a new vista in IFFs discourse in Nigeria. (NAN)

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Economy

African Development Bank, Egypt Signs Agreements Worth €109 Million to Transform Sewage Coverage in Rural Areas

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The African Development Bank Group has signed financing agreements of €109 million with the Government of Egypt to improve sanitation infrastructure and services for rural communities in Luxor Governorate in Egypt’s Upper Nile region.

The financing consists of a €108 million loan from the Bank, and a grant of €1 million from the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI) – an Africa-wide initiative hosted by the African Development Bank.

The funding, provided in a challenging global context, will help meet the Egyptian government’s financing requirements in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and support a sound water and sanitation infrastructure base, a key enabler for the country’s inclusive development.

The Integrated Rural Sanitation in Upper Egypt-Luxor (IRSUE-Luxor) project is set to boost sewage coverage in the region from 6% to 55%, improving the quality of life of citizens, including women and children, who are most affected by poor sanitation.

“Promoting efficient, equitable and sustainable economic development through integrated water resources management is a priority for the Government of Egypt. The IRSUE-Luxor initiative unlocks the socio-economic development potential for inclusive and green growth,” said Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, who signed the agreements on behalf of the Egyptian government.

About 22,000 households (240,000 inhabitants) will benefit from on-site and off-site facilities, through an integrated system of sewerage networks, sludge treatment and wastewater treatment plants.

IRSUE-Luxor contributes to the National Rural Sanitation Program established by the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities, which aims to expand nationwide access to sanitation services from 34% currently to 60% in 2030.

The project also complements the national Haya Karima (Decent Life) initiative that aims to help rural communities across Egypt access essential infrastructure services to improve their living conditions and livelihoods.

Furthermore, the project includes a staff training component to strengthen performance within the Luxor Water and Wastewater Company.

“This intervention is not just about infrastructure development. An essential part of the project is supporting ongoing sector reforms,” said Malinne Blomberg, the Bank’s Deputy Director General for North Africa.

One of several initiatives supported by the African Development Bank in Egypt to optimize the use of the country’s water resources, IRSUE-Luxor will enable about 30,000 cubic meters of treated wastewater per day to be discharged into drainage and irrigation canals and re-used to enhance agricultural output.

The initiative is in line with the Bank’s water sector policy, which promotes efficient, equitable and sustainable development through integrated water resources management. In addition, the operation supports tariff regulation to achieve full cost recovery, which is one of the basic principles of the Bank’s water sector policy.

The partnership between Egypt and the African Development Bank Group dates back more than half a century. More than 100 operations have been deployed, mobilizing more than $6 billion across multiple strategic sectors.

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