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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 long experience in the global financial market.

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Economy

AfCTFA to Cushion Negative Effect of Covid-19, Boost Regional Income by 7%- World Bank

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World Bank Says Successful Implementation of Trade Pact Could Increase Africa’s Income by $450 Billion

A recent report by World Bank has revealed that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement will avail African countries the opportunity to boost growth, reduce poverty, widen economic inclusion and increase regional income by 7 percent or $450 billion.

The multilateral financial institution further stated that the successful implementation of the trade pact could cushion the negative effect of the global health pandemic, lead to a surge in wage growth for women and lift over 30 million people out of extreme poverty by 2035.

Given the economic damage caused by Covid-19, the report suggested that AfCFTA’s income gain would likely come from simplified customs procedures, tariff liberalization and reduction in non-tariff barriers. Also, putting in place trade facilitation measures that cut off the red tape, reduce compliance costs for businesses, improve ease of doing business in Africa and broaden the continent’s global supply chains would bolster income gains.

World Bank explained that the AfCFTA agreement would help cushion the negative effects of COVID-19 on Africa’s economy — by supporting regional trade and value chains through the reduction of trade costs. In the longer term, AfCFTA would provide a path for integration and growth-enhancing reforms for African countries by replacing the patchwork of regional agreements, streamlining border procedures, and prioritizing trade reforms, AfCFTA could help African countries increase their resiliency in the face of future economic shocks.

The World Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa, Albert Zeufack, said, “The AfCFTA is expected to lift around 68 million people out of moderate poverty and make African countries more competitive. But successful implementation will be key, including careful monitoring of impacts on all workers –women and men, skilled and unskilled—across all countries and sectors, ensuring the agreement’s full benefit.

The African Continental Free Trade Area has the potential to increase employment opportunities and incomes, helping to expand opportunities for all Africans,” he further stated.

According to the report, the trade pact would reshape markets and economies across the region, leading to the creation of new industries and the expansion of key sectors.

AfCFTA would also significantly boost African trade, particularly intra-regional trade in manufacturing. Intra-continental exports would increase by 81 percent while the increase to non-African countries would be 19 percent.

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Economy

Oil Marketers: Panic Buying Ahead of Possible Increase in Pump Price

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Oil Marketers in Panic Buying  Mood Ahead of Possible Increase in Pump Price

A new finding has shown that filling station owners are presently in panic buying mood ahead of a perceived increase in pumping price of petrol in August.

Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency during the weekend said pumping price could rise due to the surge in oil prices in recent weeks.

According to experts, pumping price could hit 150 per litre this month, especially after comments from the president of the agency validated that possibility.

Billy Gillis-Harry, the National President, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, said “There is panic buying and it is because of the worry that prices will be reviewed either downwards or upwards. But because of the marginal rise in crude oil prices, the calculation is that petrol price could go up.”

He added, “That is the situation and this was why we requested that there should be a stakeholders’ engagement every month or quarterly so that we can be sure of what to expect.”

He, however, said a lot of marketers have said they are not going to hike price immediately, particularly if there was an increase in the price of petrol in the month of August.

The PETROAN president said, “Many of our members have been buying products since (July) 22nd and now they have products lined up, hoping that if PPPRA increases price, they will manage the cost in a way that Nigerians will know that we are not out to profiteer.

“We are out there to give service. So if we got products at this current rate of about N143 and they are ready to shoot the price up to N155, which is what is being anticipated, we will still sell at N143.”

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NNPC Refutes Samano Sa De CV Theft Claim, Says no 48m Barrels Missing

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NNPC Says no 48m Barrels Missing, Called Samano Sa De CV Blackmailer

Following Samano Sa De CV publication that 48 million barrels of crude oil valued at an estimated $2.06 billion was illegally moved in 2015 from the country to China and eventually sold despite the company informing the then Chief of staff to the President, Abba Kyari, the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mele Kyari and other top government officials. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has now denied any knowledge of such theft.

In a letter signed by Mr Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN), NNPC’s lawyer from Afe Babalola & Co., and addressed to Samano Sa De CV’s counsel, Mr Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), Ogunwumiju claimed that the letter sent to the corporation was “not only unfounded but frivolous”.

He described the whole whistleblowing of Samano Sa De CV as “a gold-digging scheme” aimed at “blackmailing and extorting money from our client and the Federal Government of Nigeria”.

The NNPC’s lawyer stated, “We wish to emphatically and unequivocally state for the record that our client vehemently denies your client’s claim that it provided any information to NNPC or the Federal Government of Nigeria which information led to the identification and/or recovery of 48 million barrels of stolen Nigerian Bonny Light Crude Oil stored in the People’s Republic of China.

“Accordingly, it is our client’s position that your client is not entitled to the payment of five per cent of the value of the allegedly stolen crude or any amount whatsoever as compensation for information it purportedly gave to the Federal Government of Nigeria in respect of the said stolen crude stored in the People’s Republic of China.”

He also stated that “it was impossible to ship 48 million barrels of crude oil from Nigeria to China without any record or trace of same” especially because, “as of 2015, the daily production of crude ml in Nigeria was below 1.6 million barrels.”

Ogunwumiju added, “Therefore, 48 million barrels of crude oil would have been the total production capacity of the whole country for a month.

“It is simply impossible that one-month crude oil production would disappear without any record or trace.”

According to him, notwithstanding the firm’s failure to provide evidence to support its claims, “relevant officials of the government were mandated to proceed to China to verify the claims of the existence of the said stolen Nigerian crude oil.”

He stated, “The said delegation discovered that the Samao’s claim was false and baseless. Consequently, the government severed communications with the syndicate.

“Miffed by this, Messrs Ramirez and Jose Salazar Tinajero, acting as agents of Samao, resorted to blackmail and intimidation of key officials of the government and the NNPC, threatening to make public information that the said 48 million barrels of oil had been recovered, sold and the proceeds therefrom, looted by some government officials and the NNPC when it was aware that this was untrue.

“They also demanded $125,000,000 from the said government officials, which was conveniently and rightfully ignored.

“Thereafter, NNPC reported this case of attempted blackmail to the Department of State Services and the Nigeria Police Force.”

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