The National Tax Policy Review Committee has advised the Federal Government to merge the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to improve revenue generation and accountability.
The draft of the policy was presented at the Committee’s second stakeholders engagement yesterday in Abuja by Mr Taiwo Oyedele, who is the West Africa Tax Leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Oyedele said the committee agreed that the current system promoted multitaxation, tax evasion and wastage, saying ”part of our recommendation will be that FIRS and Customs should be merged; but not just them, but all revenue generating agencies at the federal level should be merged into one.”
He said what exists now is not effective, because it duplicates the collection mechanism. “All the structures you have in FIRS is replicated in Customs, so cost of collection goes up. It also makes it easier for tax evaders to manipulate the system. You can provide information for customs and FIRS is not aware of it,” Oyedele said.
According to him,having one revenue agency “will flag all the information about a tax payer when he or she is paying tax. It will also ensure that leakages in the system are reduced. This is why we are recommending merger as part of the policy.”
The committee also recommended the introduction of Tax Amnesty Programme. He said some companies or individuals might be afraid to join the tax net for fear of being asked to pay past tax liabilities. A tax amnesty, he said “would assure the public that past offences would be forgiven, thus enable government to expand the tax net.”
Other key recommendations of the draft policy include establishment of Taxation Committee at national, and state assemblies, administrative framework for amnesty and whistle blowing.
These, the committee said, were necessary to move Nigeria from its current position of 181 out of 189 countries to top 50 on the Ease of Paying Taxes World Report.
The Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Abiola Sanni, said the need to improve revenue generation in the economy influenced the decisions of the committee.
The National Tax Policy was first published in 2012 by the then Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to entrench a robust and efficient tax system in Nigeria. The committee was, however, set up by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun on August 10 this year to review the existing policy.
FG Reduces Expenditure on JV Oil Assets by 62%
NNPC Lowers Spending on JV Oil Assets as Demand Drops
In a bid to reduce expenditure following a plunge in revenue generation, the federal government has cut down on spending on oil and gas assets currently being developed through a joint venture with private companies.
Federal Government lowered its expenses by 61.83 percent in the month of July, according to the latest report from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
The report showed NNPC, which has an obligation to make cash call payment for the development of the assets, only made $94.84 million or N34.14 billion cash call in July, down from $248.48 million or N89.45 billion in June.
The joint venture is managed by both the NNPC and private firms in proportion to their equity holdings and receives produced crude oil the same ratio.
This was largely due to the plunge in NNPC’s export receipt from $378.42 million in June to $122.44 million during the month under review.
“Of the export receipts, $67.45m was remitted to the Federation Account while $54.98m was remitted to fund the JV cost recovery for the month of July 2020 to guarantee current and future production,” it added.
In addition to the dollar allocation of $54.98 million to the JV cash call account, the naira portion of N14.35bn ($39.86m) was transferred to the account from domestic crude oil receipts in July, according to the NNPC.
Nigeria: Bread Scarcity Rages As Bakers Strike in Lagos, Abuja Over Price Hikes
Post Covid-19 Economy in Nigeria Sees Scarcity And Price hike in Bread Production
Residents of Abuja and Lagos are lamenting the increased scarcity in bread and a hike in its price as bakers went on strike to protest the hike in price of flour and other ingredients.
“I have asked around for bread but I can’t find any, and this is strange,” said Amos Idoko, a resident of Utako area in Abuja.
The strike affected roadside kiosk operations and families who rely on bread for a breakfast staple with many running out of bread last weekend across some communities surveyed in the FCT, Nasarawa and Niger state.
Some of the bakers said the strike started Friday and may end today, but there will be a hike in the price of bread.
A leader of the bakers group in the FCT and an official of Zuma Bread in Abuja, Abdullahi Muhammed, said the strike action was to protest the hike of flour and other ingredients for bread making.
Daily Trust reported exclusively recently that foreign-dominated flour millers have increased the price of flour for more than three times between March and August 2020, even with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For instance, a bag of wheat flour sold between N10,000 and N12,000 last year now sells for N14,000,” he said
“Bag of sugar sold for about N11,000 last year now sells at N18,000. A 25-litre cooking oil previously N8,000 is now N15,000,” he said.
A dealer in wheat flour and baking ingredients in Kubwa – Abuja, Shehu Lawan, said dealers now rely on the parallel market to source for forex instead of the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN), making it difficult for them to maintain previous prices.
Lawan also said other issues that affect cost in bakery commodities, include government tax increment, cost of transport, among others.
In Lagos, Mr Ajao Ismail, who works at Royal Bite bakery in Palm Avenue of Mushin, said there was an earlier scarcity of bread in Lagos but that most bakers have resumed operations as of Sunday evening but with the bread price increasing.
“The market is dull at the moment because we have lots of bread that we have not sold. When there was scarcity, the demand was higher than the supply, now that most of the bakers are no longer on strike, there is more bread. People are reacting to the price.”
Ajao explained that the price of bread can return to how it was pre-COVID provided the government intervenes.
“If the government can work towards ensuring the price of flour, sugar, milk and butter is reduced to what it was in January 2020, we promise to reverse the price of bread to what it was.
“Bread now sold for N300/350 will return to N250 and the one sold for N500 will return to N400,” she noted.
The bakers had shut down for a number of days last week in Lagos. Premium Bread makers Association of Nigeria (PBAN) and Association of Master Bakers and Caterers Association of Nigeria (AMBAN) in briefing said the prices of ingredients
The spokesperson of PBAN, Emmanuel Onuoha, confirmed the scarcity. “If we don’t do this, people will think it is their right to buy cheap bread,” he said, adding that bakers now run at a loss even as most of them could no longer meet their loan repayment obligations.
It was also learnt that other states might also embark on the temporary cessation of production in response to the high cost of baking ingredients comprising flour, sugar, margarine, among others.
FG Spends N10 Trillion on Petrol Subsidy in 14 Years – NNPC
NNPC Says FG Has Spent N10 Trillion on Petrol Subsidy in the Last 14 years
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation said the Federal Government spent a total sum of N10 trillion on petrol subsidy between 2006 and 2020.
This was disclosed on Saturday by Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director, NNPC, during an interview on Liberty FM, Kaduna.
According to the NNPC boss, the federal government removed petrol subsidy because of the fraud perpetrated by some cabals in the oil industry.
He said the beneficiaries of petrol subsidies were marketers who smuggled federal government subsidised product into neighbouring countries for bigger gains.
The NNPC boss said these marketers made more profits by producing fake documents to collect subsidy for fuel they never imported or sold.
He said, “The crude oil is a global commodity and its price is not hidden. Everyone can calculate and know how much the cost of every final product from the crude at international market is.
“Since the inception of the country, the government has been paying subsidy on petrol to make it cheaper for Nigerians to buy below the cost price.
“This subsidy is designed to assist the masses of Nigeria; that is the intention, but in reality, the masses are not the beneficiaries. First, the masses are not the owners of the exotic cars buying fuel, owning the filling stations and doing the oil business.
“This subsidy that the government has been paying over the years is the root of all the atrocities and fraud committed in this country.
“If you look at it from 2006 till 2020, we have spent over N10tn on fuel subsidy. Apart from that, there is also subsidy on foreign currencies. Everybody knows how much is dollar in the market, but government is also subsidising it. So, this and the fuel subsidy within this period is around N14tn to N15tn.
“What was happening with the subsidy is that, some marketers were smuggling fuel to other neighbouring countries because it was cheaper in Nigeria due to the subsidy.
“Another one is those who use fake documents and bring to government to collect subsidy for fuel they never imported and the previous government was paying them.
“So, it was not the masses of Nigeria that were enjoying this subsidy except some cabals, who are rich and powerful.”
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