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Economy

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.

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

Lagos Loses N1 Trillion to #EndSARS Protest, a Year Budget – Gov

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Lagos Needs N1 Trillion to Fix Vandalised Infrastructure, a Year Budget – Gov

The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has puts the total economic cost of past week destruction and vandalism in the state at about N1 trillion.

Sanwo-olu, who spoke with the speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, that was on a fact-finding visit to Lagos on Sunday, said the state may spend up to N1 trillion to fix damages done to infrastructure.

Speaking on the situation, Femi Gbajabiamila, said “The House of Representatives will do all it can to compensate all those who suffered brutality including policemen that lost their lives in the process.

“Also whatever the house can do in rebuilding Lagos and other states it will do. We are now in a state of reconstruction. What must be done will be done.

“I learnt from the governor of Lagos State that it will take N1.0 trillion to rebuild what had been lost and I asked him what is the budget size of the state he said about N1.0 trillion. You can see we are moving backward.

Rotimi Akeredolu, Chairman of the South West Governors, who was part of the visit, stated, “We are indeed surprised at the extent of damage to lives and properties in Lagos. We will be right to say Lagos was turned into a war zone.

“We are deeply concerned with the ease with which public buildings, utilities, police stations and investments of our people have been burnt despite the proximity of security agencies to those areas. However, while responding to the total number of government’s buildings burnt among others,” Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, stated.

We are still counting. The state is still taking inventories of all that happened and not until all that is concluded we can’t not ascertained for now the total number of burnt structures. But I can tell you it’s very huge.

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Economy

Experts Recount Nigeria Losses Ahead Possible Rebuilding, Recovery

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Economic Experts Recount Losses Incurred from the #EndSARS Protest Ahead Possible Rebuilding, Recovery

Economic experts have started releasing reports on the size of the damage done to the nation’s economy following the #EndSARS protest that was hijacked by hoodlums and criminals.

The most affected state, Lagos State, will need about $1 trillion, an equivalent to its annual budget, to recoup the economic value of what was lost to the destruction and looting perpetrated by thieves masquerading as protesters.

A Senior Economist/Head, Research & Strategy, Greenwich Merchant Bank, Ayodeji Ebu, said the unrest and the 24 hours curfew that was later imposed by Lagos State to restore order could cost the state at least N54 billion per day.

He explained that the protest would hurt the nation’s foreign direct investment in the remaining part of the year and as well as the first quarter of 2021.

His words: “While it may be difficult to estimate the exact loss so far, based on the significant contribution of Lagos State (approximately 30%) to Nigeria’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and as over 50 percent of Nigeria’s non-oil industrial capacity is located in Lagos, the impact of the crisis will be enormous.

“This was further compounded with the 24hours curfew that lasted for about four days. Estimating using the Q2’2020 GDP data and assuming there was a total shut down, each day will cost Lagos alone about N54 billon.

Speaking further, Ebu said: “With Lagos the centre of the civil unrest, which account for 70 percent or $1.1 billion of total capital importation in Q2’2020, we expect this to further impact on direct investment in Q4’2020 and Q1’2021.

He expects that insurance claims to also rise in line with the damages done on lives and properties.

Similarly, analysts at Cordros Capital, a Lagos based investment banking firm, reacted to the negative impact of the unrest on the nation’s economy.

The analysts said the nation’s economy could contract by as much as 6.91 percent year-on-year in the final quarter of the year due to the unrest. Therefore, they projected a negative growth rate of 4.15 percent year-on-year for the 2020 fiscal year.

In their words, they said “The transportation, trade, and manufacturing sectors are expected to be the hardest hit.

“On transportation, we expect reduced domestic and international flight operations pending when normalcy is restored.

“Similarly, we expect compliance with curfew directives to hinder the free movement of people and goods across the country, further compounding the woes of the transport sector, which is yet to recover from the COVID-19 induced decline.

“While the manufacturing sector is currently being hampered by FX related issues and an unfriendly business environment, the imposition of curfews will further exacerbate the challenges of the sector.

“For the trade sector, the decline in household consumption brought about by higher food prices and shrinking consumers’ income will cascade into weak wholesale and retail trade in conjunction with the pre-existing supply chain constraints.”

Analysts at Fidelity Securities Limited also added their voices and said the protest may cost the nation more than the N700 billion estimation previously estimated by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce.

They said “The EndSARs protest and eventual escalation of the protest would cost the Nigerian economy way more than N700 billion initially estimated by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce. With the current level of destructions, it may take a while for business to run at full capacity as the government as well as the private sector will first have to channel funding into the destroyed infrastructure in a bid to restore things back to the way it was, before even thinking of further improving on the infrastructure.

“Given the level of destruction, more businesses have been affected, more jobs would be lost, and more families would further fall below the poverty line as a result of the looting and burning of business. This is expected to further worsen the economic situation of the country which was already suffering from the impact of Covid-19. The government at this point would need to think out of the box, if it aims to revitalise the economy in the shortest time, else our GDP growth rate may remain negative even into the new year.

Accordingly, the Electricity Distribution Companies of Nigeria (DISCOs), on Sunday said the destruction of equipment it uses to deliver power and service operations will hurt its revenue generation and service delivery in October and the rest of the fourth quarter.

The DISCOs said “I tell you, assets are been destroyed, which is a significant impact on the industry. The DISCOs are expected to give power and how will it be achieved when our facilities including cables, poles, buildings are destroyed.

“That, however, transcends to money because the DISCOs cannot collect money for bills due to the unrest. Who would want to pay when everybody is angry.

“This means the remittance will be low to the Government on power we have collected. The protest has empowered Nigerians to fight back and the threat to lynch officials collecting bill are high. The properties and cables would have to be fixed on whose account?

“Seriously we are at a crossroad but we have signed an agreement to deliver power and that we would do.”

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Economy

Nigeria Mulls Selling Electricity to Republic of Chad

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Nigeria Considers Selling Electricity to the Republic of Chad

The Federal Government is presently considering selling electricity to the Republic of Chad after a request was made by the neigbouring nation.

The federal government-owned Transmission Company of Nigeria disclosed this on Sunday, adding that a meeting was held last week to discuss the possibilities of plugging the Republic of Chad to the nation’s grid.

Nigeria presently exports electricity to three neighbouring nations, Benin, Togo and the Republic of Niger despite struggling with power supply at home and failed to up its power generation more than the current level of 3,000 -4,500 megawatts in recent years.

On Sunday, the total power generated declined to 3,474.5MW as of 6am, down from 3,776.5MW on Saturday, according to the latest data from the Nigerian Electricity System Operator.

The total number of idle plants rose from 8 on Saturday to 11 on Sunday. These idle plants were Geregu II, Sapele II, Alaoji, Olorunsogo II, Omotosho II, Ihovbor, Gbarain, Ibom Power, AES, ASCO and Trans-Amadi.

A total of twenty-seven plants were presently connected to the national grid, which is being managed by the TCN.

Meeting between Ministry of Power, TCN, and the Chadian Minister of Energy, Mrs Ramatou Mahamat Houtouin, to discuss the possibilities of connecting the Republic of Chad to the Nigerian national grid [was held] on Wednesday, October 21, 2020,” the TCN said on its Twitter handle on Sunday, alongside pictures of the meeting.

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