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FG Targets Four Million New Taxpayers Through VAIDS

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  • FG Targets Four Million New Taxpayers Through VAIDS

Through the implementation of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme, the Federal Government is targeting to bring a total of four million new taxpayers into the tax net.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, gave the figure at the ongoing Platform for Collaboration on Tax Conference at the United Nations in New York, United States.

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 obligation honestly will not be subjected to any investigation or tax audit after the nine-month grace period.

Adeosun explained that the VAIDS tax amnesty programme was targeted at increasing the taxpayer base, raising revenue and regularising the tax status of many Nigerians.

She noted that the scheme was aimed at raising at least $1bn for the government, adding that more Nigerians had indicated interest in taking advantage of the opportunity.

The minister said, “We are using technology to improve the accuracy and efficiency of the programme. The Project Light House is using advanced data mining and data analytics techniques to identify tax defaulters, establish their tax liabilities and send notifications.

“The system-wide computer software, which drives the Project Light House, aggregates data from multiple sources such as bank accounts, land registry records, company registration data, tax filings, customs records and asset ownership records, among others, to identify, profile and track tax evaders.”

In a statement on Friday from the minister’s Media Adviser, Oluyinka Akintunde, quoted Adeosun as saying that the Federal Government had engaged a leading international asset tracing and investigation agency, Kroll, to trace and track illicit flows and assets.

In addition, she said Nigeria had signed the Multilateral Competent Authority on Common Reporting Standards, which allows for exchange of financial account information.

The country, according to her, is expected to effect the first exchange by 2019 as soon as the domestic legal framework is completed.

She added, “Nigeria has adopted the Common Reporting Standards and the Addis Tax Initiative aimed at improving the fairness, transparency, efficiency and effectiveness of the tax system.

“Furthermore, as part of open government partnership, Nigeria has included in the national action plan a commitment to establish a public register of beneficial owners.

“To this end, the Corporate Affairs Commission, the custodian of Nigeria’s company registry, is pursuing relevant amendments to the Companies and Allied Matters Act to comply with global standards.”

As part of measures to tackle illicit financial flows, the minister called for the tightening of Nigeria’s tax codes and laws that encourage tax avoidance as well as strengthening of the tax system to make it more efficient.

She said, “The IFFs are driven by the desire to hide illicit wealth, hide the proceeds away from the public eye and law enforcement agencies, and also conceal the ways and means by which illicit wealth was created. This makes it difficult to trace the associated money flow.

“Developing countries, including Nigeria, collect significantly lower levels of tax as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product than wealthier states. This is partly because the income and wealth being created is taken out of the country illegally, without being taxed.”

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 long experience in the global financial market.

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Economy

Lagos Lowers Land Use Charges, Waives N5.75bn in Penal Fees

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Lagos Reduces Land Use Charges to Pre-2018 Fees

In a bid to ease economic burden and support growth across Lagos State, the commercial hub of Nigeria, the state government has reduced land use charges and other penal fees.

Dr. Rabiu Olowo, the Commissioner for Finance, disclosed this on Wednesday in a statement titled ‘Speech delivered by the honourable commissioner for finance at a press briefing on the 2020 new land use charge law.’

Lagos State Government said land use charges and other fees are revised down to pre-2018, adding that the state will henceforth uphold the 2018 method of valuation.

Accordingly, the state waived the penal fees for 2017, 2018 and 2019. Translating to N5.75 billion in potential revenue.

“In addition to this, there is also a 48 per cent reduction in the annual charge rates,” Olowo stated.

He further stated that owner-occupied residential property was lowered from 0.076 per cent to 0.0394 per cent; industrial premises of manufacturing concerns, from 0.256 per cent to 0.132 per cent; and residential property/private school (owner and third party, from 0.256 per cent to 0.132 per cent.

Olowo added that commercial property — used by the occupier for business purposes — was reduced from 0.76 per cent to 0.394 per cent; and vacant properties and open empty land, from 0.076 per cent to 0.0394 per cent.

While the annual charge rate for agricultural land was revised down by 87 per cent from 0.076 per cent to 0.01 per cent.

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FG Spends N2.37 Trillion on Petrol Importation in 13 Months, Says NNPC

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NNPC Sells 950.67m Litres of Petrol In May

The Federal Government imported petrol valued at N2.37 trillion into the country in thirteen months, according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

On Wednesday, the corporation said revenue from the sales of white products stood at N2.39 trillion between May 2019 and May 2020.

It, therefore, stated that petrol contributed about 98.84 percent or N2.37 trillion of the total sales generated during the period.

In May, the corporation said it realised N92.58 billion from the sale of petrol. NNPC said the product was sold through its subsidiary, the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC).

According to the May 2020 version of the corporation’s Monthly Financial and Operations Report quoted by Kennie Obateru, the Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division, NNPC, 950.67 million litres of white products (only petrol) was sold by PPMC in the month.

This, he said “comprised 950.67 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, only, with no Automotive Gas Oil or Dual Purpose Kerosene.”

“There was also no sale of special product in the month.”

Nigeria continues to depend on importation for its petrol supplies due to local dilapidated refineries that have failed to operate at optimal level despite billions of dollars budgeted for maintenance yearly.

Experts have said petrol importation is one of the main reasons the nation’s foreign reserves continues to struggle, especially at a period when oil prices are trading at a record low with broadly low demand for the commodity.

Nigeria’s foreign reserves is presently hovering around $36 billion, down from its record high of $45 billion attained in June 2019. The decline has also impacted the ability of the Central Bank of Nigeria to support the Nigerian Naira.

The Naira has been devalued by 15 per cent in the last four months and was recently adjusted from N361 a US dollar to N381 per US dollar on the Investors and Exporters forex window to ease the pressure on the reserves.

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Amaechi Urges National Assembly to be Careful Probing Chinese Loans

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Amaechi Says China is Becoming a Bit Apprehensive About Giving Money to Nigeria

The Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, on Tuesday said he specifically urged the National Assembly to be careful about the ongoing probe of Chinese loan agreements.

The minister who appeared in a live television programme with the Minister of Justice/Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, said China is becoming a bit apprehensive about releasing additional loans to the country.

He said, “You know, I specifically urged the National Assembly to please be careful about this probe on the loan agreements. It is because we are trying to make an application for the Port Harcourt Maiduguri rail.

“If nothing else is happening, you know that our brothers are already saying that we don’t want to do any rail project in the South-East.

He added, “Now that we are planning to say that they should give us some loan for us to construct Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, and we are about to go to cabinet for approval, you are now shouting these terms are bad, Chinese people are wicked.

“How will they give you the money? I have documents to the effect that we are getting signals that they are becoming a bit apprehensive on whether we are doing this because we don’t want to pay them back.

Amaechi said the nation must learn to pay back procured loans, saying the $500 million loan obtained for the Abuja-Kaduna railway was presently being serviced.

He said, “Nobody has signed out anything. A sovereign nation is a sovereign nation; nobody can recolonise us. We must learn to pay our debts and we are paying, and once you are paying, nobody will come and take any of your assets.”

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