Benue revenue service seals off federal agriculture varsity over N2.3b debt

Benue State Internal Revenue Service (BIRS) has sealed off the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, over non-remittance of Personal Income Tax running into N2.3 billion.

The Chairman of the board, Mrs. Mimi Adzape-Orubibi, who led the enforcement agent to the university, sealed off the offices of the vice chancellor, registrar and the bursar.

She said the BIRS had to make the move after the university failed to respond to several letters written to it to pay up the outstanding Personal Income Tax from 2007 to 2011.

The acting Chairman of ASUU, Mr. Bemgba Anjembe, insisted that PAYE was deducted monthly from members of staff salaries and alleged that there was suspected connivance between BIRS and the university authorities not to remit taxes already deducted from members of staff, thus denying them access to tax clearance certificates.

Meanwhile, the students of the university have besieged the BIRS office located on Gboko Road, Makurdi, to protest the closure of their institution and called for dialogue between the BIRS and the university authorities.

The university’s management, through its Public Relations Officer (PRO), Joseph Fanafa, said it was maintaining a dignified silence on the matter until the outcome of a meeting with BIRS scheduled for tomorrow.

FIRS seals hotel of Egwu, ex-Ebonyi governor, over N5m tax.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has sealed off Gracecourt Hotel & Suites, belonging to Sam Egwu, former governor of Ebonyi state.

The revenue-collecting agency shut the facility over a tax debt of about N5 million.

One of the sons of Egwu, who is currently the senator representing Ebonyi north senatorial district, was said to have attempted to prevent the enforcement team of FIRS from sealing the hotel.

According to a statement issued by the agency, Titus Lamorde, the state commissioner of police, had to intervene before the agency could carry out its duty.

FIRS said it had earlier served the management of the hotel located at 14, NNA Street, Abakaliki, the state capital, with warrant of destraint.

The FIRS team also shut the Sacramental Resources Ltd, a company at Water Works road, Abakaliki, for an outstanding 2016 tax debt of N454,000.


Source: The Cable

Abia Government Expresses Concern Over Non-remittance Of Tax By Shell.

The Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu has frowned at the non-remittance of taxes, to the state government by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC).

Governor Ikpeazu while speaking at a meeting with the management of Shell at the Government House Umuahia, wondered why the company had neglected the communities where oil exploration activities of the firm, has caused untold health and environmental challenges to the life and properties of the people.

He expressed concern over the attitude shown the multinational oil firm towards the people of the state.

Meanwhile, the leader of Shell delegation who is also the Land East Manager of Shell, Sam Ezugworie commended the governor and said that his company is prepared to collaborate with the state government and host communities to improve things.

He disclosed that the company had in the last six years spent 420 million Naira as its social investment in its host communities and in Owaza, one of the oil bearing communities in Ukwa West.

“I want to state here, that the company has offered scholarships to 457 secondary school students and 74 university students while  210 persons have benefited from the company enterprise development activities.

In addition, the company has also built a cottage hospital and five legacy projects in the last six years.”

On behalf of the host communities, Sam Nwogu hinted that three oil wells in Uzoaku in Ukwa West are tagged to Obigbo in Rivers State without any revenue coming to Abia and pleaded with the Governor to prevail on the SPDC to change the name to Imo River to reflect the community where the oil is produced.

Shell has been operating in Ukwa West local government area of Abia state since 1958, before the creation of Abia State in 1991.


Source: Channels TV

“Despite Governor Ayade’s claim, we still pay taxes, levies”, Cross River residents cry out.

Residents of Calabar have expressed mixed reactions to the pronouncement by Governor Ben Ayade to exempt low income earners in Cross River from payment of taxes and levies.

Some of the residents spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria in separate interviews in Calabar.

Joseph Ewa, the Chairman of Tricycle Owners/Drivers Association of Nigeria, Cross River chapter, said that his members were still paying various levies to different government agents.

“We have been waiting for the implementation of this directive but nothing is happening till now. They are still harassing us daily as usual.

“Everything remains the same. We are waiting for the governor to come back from his journey and then we will ask him to explain to us who benefits from this law.”

According to him, the governor’s directive concerns tricycle drivers, taxi drivers and even bean cake (akara) seller.

“I heard the governor mention “keke’’ tricycle driver during his speech, so we have to find out in due course what is happening,” he said.

A taxi driver, Udeme Simon, said that rather than exemption, they were now paying more.

“Look at my receipts, where we used to pay N200 before, it is now N450; so we only heard that pronouncement but it has not impacted on us in any way,” he said.

A civil servant, Catherine Henshaw, said that she could not confirm if deductions were made on her salary because she was yet to be paid for January.

“I heard that too, but I am yet to receive my January salary to know if anything has changed,” she said.

However, an official of the State Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said on condition of anonymity that the directive was yet to be implemented as it had to pass through some processes.

“As I speak with you, we have not started implementing the directive. And again, the exemption does not affect every low income earners on the street.

“It is only meant for those that are recognisable like the state civil servants. The idea is that, the governor will pay for them,” he said.

The governor had in his maiden media briefing said he had forwarded a bill to exempt all low income earners in the state from payment of all forms of taxes and levies to the State House of Assembly.

He reiterated the pronouncement, while signing this year’s budget two weeks ago in Calabar.


Source: NAN

Ayade’s Exemption of Low Income Earners From Taxes : Illusion or Reality? – By Inyali Peter

Lucius Annaeus Seneca said “A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer”. For the intention of Governor Ben Ayade to exempt low income earners from taxes, I say kudos to the governor. It only takes a leader with courage to harbour such intentions amidst the lean financial position of the state.

Cross River state receives almost the smallest allocation from the federal government. Over the past few years, what has been the major source of revenue generation for the state has been taxation. So for the governor to think of exempting low income earners from taxes is a rare but a welcome development.

However, while I am a student of Seneca school of thought that intention is more important than what is given, this philosophy as it is cannot be applicable in all cases. Yes! The governor may have good intentions by attempting to introduce this policy, but making it a reality may be more important that having a mere intention.

This is because, the news which broke out today is not the first time the governor has announced this. In fact, this news is coming a year after the governor first made the pronouncement. Last year, around this time, during a media parley with Journalists, the governor pronounced a tax free policy for the same category of persons. But after the pronouncement, it was like the governor awoken a sleeping lion. The 100 marian  boys, DOPT and different tax agencies unleashed the highest terror on people without recourse to the policy. Worst still was the fact that, the governor feigned ignorance that low income earners were still being taxed.

Throughout the year, taxation of these people went unabated. There was even this case where DOPT officers manhandled a taxi driver for failing to pay for a ticket. Some journalists with human minds reported the story and instead of the governor to react, that was when he approved the appointment of 130 officers (although on pages of newspapers) for DOPT.

No doubt, the governor made an efforts to make this a reality by sending a bill to the state house of assembly to give it a legal backing, unfortunately, the bill died on arrival. I may not have the accurate information on why the bill didn’t go through, but it was widely rumoured that such policy would need to under go scrutiny by relevant federal tax agencies. The federal agencies would need to review the country’s tax system to accommodate this.

This means that the governor don’t have such right to unilaterally abolish taxes for low income earners. Hence, my suspicion that this second pronouncement is more an illusion than reality. This is so because, after the government failed in the previous attempt, there would have been proper consultation to have this new policy backed by law.

Perhaps, illusive pronouncements like this is not new to Cross Riverians as this administration is known for starting, completing and effecting policies and projects only on the media. The government lacks proper coordination and planning for anything. The administration is more interested in impressing the populace than impacting on them.

While this may be one of the best policies of any government in recent times, policy like this would not only have negative effects on the state revenue but also the local government. This is the more reason why there would have been a robust consultation with stakeholders at all levels before going to the media again. Some local government, for instance, the Calabar South and Calabar Municipality survive majorly on revenue from this source. So it will be difficult for councils to comply with this “decree” when there is no law backing it or alternative source of revenue generation for them.

If the government is serious in this second missionary journey of tax exemption, there should be a follow up to media pronouncement by consulting widely with all interested groups.

Also, the government should do well by ensuring it is backed up by law. And unofficial tax collectors like Police, Road safely, Civil Defence, VIO and other security agencies should be carefully and critically monitored because the largesse low income earners especially the cab drivers pay to them in most cases is even more than official taxes.

Until these issues are addressed, the policy remains an illusion for the governor to score cheap political cards.

Inyali Peter

Cross River Government Exempts Low Income Earners From Paying Taxes

The Cross River State Government has with immediate effect abolished all forms of taxation levied on low income earners with less than 50,000 naira monthly income.

The directive, according to Governor Ben Ayade was necessitated by the current economic realities in the country and its impacts on ordinary citizens.


Ayade made the disclosure shortly after signing the 2017 appropriation bill of N707 billion christened, “Budget of Transposition” into law at the State Executive Council Chambers, Calabar.



Citizens, especially low income earners and petty traders in the state have recently frowned at the incessant collection of taxes from them, which is biting hard following the recession.


This led to Governor Ben Ayade’s decision to put an end to pressurizing the low income earners in the state for taxes.


The Governor in an emotional speech on the issue reasoned that God has given those in authority the window to raise the hopes of the electorate and by that, his administration would rather tax his intellect to prosperity rather than taxing the low income earners.

Truck drivers block Abuja-Lokoja-Okene highway to protest N10,000 tax

Protesting truck drivers have blocked the Abuja-Lokoja-Okene highways since the early hours of Monday, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

The drivers are protesting the N10,000 daily tax imposed by the Kogi State revenue Service.

The state government, police and the Federal Road Safety Corps were, however, taking measure to ensure free flow of traffic.

No official reaction yet from the state government but the state police Commissioner, Badulahi Chafe, is currently in a meeting with the leadership of the truck drivers to end the blockade.

One of the motorists trapped in the gridlock, Isaac Ighure, said he had remained on the same spot on the road for over three hours .

Mr. Igure described the development as bad for the state and the country, especially when it is happening few days to Christmas.

The gridlock has stretched to over 30 kilometres as at the time of this report.

The meeting with officials of the truck drivers is holding at the state police command headquarters.

The Police Public Relations Officers, ASP William Aya, who confirmed this to NAN said that the issue would be resolved soonest in order to ease the hardship on motorists and the travelling public.

FIRS seals Diplomat Hotel over N351m tax debt.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on Tuesday sealed the Diplomat Hotel, located at 1, Shonnyway Street, Shonibare Estate, Maryland, Lagos, over a N351 million tax debt.


Bukar Gana, head of the FIRS enforcement team, stated the hotel owes taxes between 2012 and 2016.


The hotel customer care manager, who didn’t give his name, said they were “concerned about the debt”.


Also in Lagos, the team closed the premises of Island Power Limited, a power generating company, situated 1 Cable Street, Lagos.


The company owes N132.5million accumulated between 2012 and 2014. The administrative department was sealed off, leaving only the power plant because of the essential services it provides to organisations.


The team team visited Consertive Estimate Limited, situated at 15, Fatai Irawo Street, Papa Ajao, Lagos, which has a tax debt of N15.8 million. However, the company was said to have relocated over four months ago.


The exercise equally took place in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where the FIRS team led by Anita Erinne, shut Universal Insurance, which owes N82.1million in income tax.

‘States opposed to alcohol should not share from alcohol tax’ – Atiku

Ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has said states opposed to the sale and consumption of alcohol have no business should not benefit from tax paid on alcohol.

He also said the country does not need more states because existing states are too weak and unviable to be federating units.

Atiku spoke at the public presentation of a book, “Nigerian Federalism: Continuing Quest for Stability and Nation-Building”, produced by the African Policy Research Institute.

The former Vice President, who is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), also said: “We must acknowledge that in federal systems that work, federating units cede certain powers to the centre. In our strange federal contraption, it is the centre that is creating federating units, giving them money and monopolising most power and resources. Thus our state governments are no longer performing as federating units. Rather they currently seem like dependent provinces of the central government in Abuja.

“Think about this: sales taxes ought to be collected and used by states and local governments. Of course there is nothing inherently wrong in a federal sales tax but states must agree with the federal government what items should be taxed, at what rate and how the proceeds are to be shared. They ought to be uniform.

“If a state is opposed to cattle tax or bicycle tax or alcohol tax, or pollution tax, for instance, it should not expect to share in the tax proceeds from those items. That is called fairness.

“In fact, states should be the ones collecting those taxes on behalf of the federal government and get compensated for their work, through an agreed sharing formula, rather than duplicating the cost of collection. Federal intrusion makes it more difficult for a state to collect taxes from items that may be peculiar to it, thereby narrowing the tax base. And it makes enforcement even more difficult.“

On local government autonomy, Atiku said: “Even our state governments are nearly dependent on the Federal Government, meaning they do not even have the autonomy that we are trying to give to the local government that are below them.

“In our strange federal contraption, it is the centre that is creating federating units, giving them money and monopolising most power and resources. Thus, our state governments are no longer performing as federating units. Rather, they currently seem like dependent provinces of the central government in Abuja.

“We are all witnesses to the agitations and complaints by different sections of the country at different times about being marginalized or shortchanged in fiscal allocation and the distribution of such other public resources such political positions, jobs, school admissions, provision of infrastructure, and even social honour.

“In response many Nigerians have been calling for some form of restructuring of our federal system, while some small fringe groups insist on their part of the country separating from the federation all together.

“What I find odd and somewhat unhelpful is the argument of those who say that we cannot renegotiate our union and who proceed from there to equate every demand for restructuring with attempts to break up the country.

“I believe that every form of human relationships is negotiable. Every political relationship is open for negotiations, without pre-set outcomes.
“As a democrat and businessman, I do not fear negotiations. That is what reasonable human beings do. This is even more important if a stubborn resistance against negotiations can lead to unsavoury outcomes.”

The former Vice President added that: “We must acknowledge that what got us to our current over-centralised, and centre-dominated federal system is political expediency and fear, and bolstered by the command and control character of military regimes.”


Another Look at Jimoh Ibrahim’s Tax Proposal, By Simbo Olorunfemi

The philosophical premise upon which his proposal rests – that you cannot tax your way out of recession – is not one, I think, that should be arbitrarily dismissed. I do think there is a need for relief and rebate at the bottom rather than thinking up draconian measures… One gets this feeling that we are more obsessed with saving Nigeria than Nigerians.

Jimoh Ibrahim must be in high spirits at the moment. After all, he is the ‘Araba’ who sneaked in as an axe, into the Ondo forest of twists and turns to take down the ‘Iroko’, with the backing of the Sheriff. His tweets are like those of an ‘Afobaje’ who, with the aid of what might be seen as twisted interlocutory ejaculations, was able to arrest the divination process to ensure that the anointed Prince does not emerge as King. Shortly before the election, Ibrahim said that the tussle was not necessarily about who emerged as candidate but who achieved his aim. The man might have been bruised in that comical roll-in-the-mud tweet-slam between himself and Femi Fani-Kayode, but he seems to be having the last laugh now over his Comrade and Iroko, for whom the election was a referendum on his legacy. For Ibrahim, it is simply mission accomplished.

But this is not even about the complicated politics of Ondo State, the ‘roforofo’ battle of egos between Iroko and Araba or how a man appropriated the title of ‘Afobaje’ and threw a spanner in the wheel of the campaign of an unassuming man on the ballot. Rather, it is about the proposal put forward by Jimoh Ibrahim as a participant in the Governorship Elections Debate to scrap the payment of Personal Income Tax in Ondo State. Indeed, many were quick to jump on this and promptly dismissed the Ibrahim proposal as a joke, a debate gimmick deployed without much thought, which was thrown out to curry support of the gullible, ostensibly for an ulterior political motive.

Social media commentators quickly jumped at it and roundly pilloried the man and his idea. They accused him of exhibiting ignorance in not recognising that the payment of Personal Income Tax is a statutory requirement backed by law, one which falls on the exclusive list which makes it a matter within the exclusive purview of the Federal Government and not one that a State governor can arbitrarily do away with.

Jimoh Ibrahim might have been in a rambunctious mood on the night of the debate, obviously enjoying what he was able to pull off, but I didn’t think he did not know or understand, to a reasonable extent, what he was talking about. He might be another politician, naturally given to their ways, but he is a lawyer who not only should know the law but he has the advantage of study and practice in the area of taxation. I felt his proposal ought not to be one to be dismissed with a wave of hand by those who know and many who might not know but ought to be given some thought and consideration. That an idea is coming from a politician should not be sufficient ground to dismiss it without some interrogation. After all, as Yorubas would say, ‘inu ikoko dudu l’eko funfun ti njade’. There is no writing off the possibility of beauty rising on the wings of ashes.

So, Ibrahim proposed to do away with the payment of personal income tax in Ondo state, if elected governor. For those who raised a query about the legality of that, I do not see what the issue is. State Governments have the legal mandate to collect personal income tax and it is for their use. What will be illegal in a State electing not to utilise its right of collection? In the first place, the rates are not uniform across board. So, if State A chooses to reduce its rate for the benefit of her citizens or in order to attract investment to her domain, what can possibly be wrong with that? What law will a State be in breach of in electing against collection of Personal Income Tax?

Important as it might be to grow the government revenue base, especially in a time of recession, the Philistinic philosophy that seems to suggest that as the only way to turn the economy around is bewildering. What is the fixation with growing beer-bellies for governments at all levels when we struggle to see the good use that has been put to…

In this age, with competition rife among states to be investors’ preferred destinations, it cannot be out of place for smart states to consider the feasibility of the idea of lowering/scrapping taxes, including personal income tax for prospective employees, among other ideas to attract investors. Did Ireland not operate from a similar playbook, under the ‘Double Irish arrangement’ that many multinationals, especially technology companies such as Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft took advantage of? The point is that a creative interpretation of tax laws and use of rebates are tools commonly used to attract investments in an increasingly competitive market. A state, by encouraging companies to locate to its territory on the basis of a relaxation of enforcement of personal income tax law, not only stands to make gains from other form of taxes such that whatever is lost in terms of PIT is recouped through other sources, and in so doing, there are numerous social and economic benefits that come with indirectly creating jobs for its citizens.

In the specific instance of Ondo State which Jimoh Ibrahim spoke of, one does not have the details of what he has in mind but an interrogation of the revenue profile of the state is telling. In 2015, Ondo State’s internally generated revenue stood at about N10.1 billion. Between 2011 and 2015, this ranged between N8 billion and N11.7 billion. So, on the average, the state generates N10 billion ‘internally’. States generate the bulk of their revenue from ‘Pay as You Earn’ (PAYE), Direct Assessment, and Road Taxes, among other sources. Even though we do not have the breakdown for Ondo State, but from the data on other states in Ondo’s category, about 60 percent of the internally generated revenue is from PAYE, which means that for the State, whose mainstay is the Civil Service, about N6 billion of what it purports to earn is actually a mere deduction in the form of taxes from the salaries paid to government workers, which is put at about N25 billion on an annual basis. So, from a monthly wage bill of N2 billion, there is a N500 million tax deduction as PAYE.

How is Ondo really doing? The state has an average monthly revenue of N6 billion. For September, 2016, she received N4.18 billion as allocation from the Federation account, all sources including VAT Allocation inclusive, while Edo received N2.54 billion. Though both states average almost the same in other sources, however Ondo earns higher than Edo from the 13 percent derivation kitty. In terms of recurrent expenditure, Ondo is slightly more exposed than Edo, but while Ondo’s total debt stock is N30 billion, Edo’s is N65 billion. It must then mean that Edo is spending some reasonable amount servicing her debt. So, how is it that the state is able to pay her workers regularly while Ondo is in arrears for several months? How is it that Ondo with an average monthly revenue of N6 billion is unable to meet a monthly wage bill of slightly over N2 billion?

I will argue that on the face of it, Ondo State is not unable, should it elect not to collect personal income tax from its workers, to let go of N500 million monthly. There is nothing out of the world in that idea. I dare say. I do not see anything wrong with a tax rebate, to start with, for lower grade officials and others at the bottom of the pyramid. Of course, many will query the wisdom in increasing the public expenditure profile at a time that government is finding it difficult to meet its obligation, but do we understand why that is the case in Ondo, in the first place? It is always when a bit of relief is proposed for those under that category that the argument about cutting cost is heard.

As I keep arguing, what can be wrong with putting some money in the hands of the people at the bottom to enhance their purchasing power and drive production at that level? What is wrong with empowering small businesses through a tax rebate system that rewards innovation and entrepreneurship at the base?

Some will argue that in the face of massive tax evasion beyond the formal sector, why take off-net the cash cow? It is a valid argument, but I believe that the problem with tax administration in Nigeria is less about tax evasion at the bottom but a poorly structured system that fails to address the challenges of the weakest link in the society with no plan or accommodation for those within the informal sector, especially small businesses. Rather, it is all about the squeeze through a regime of spurious indirect taxes that keep them grounded at the bottom in a society with no form of safety net.

Important as it might be to grow the government revenue base, especially in a time of recession, the Philistinic philosophy that seems to suggest that as the only way to turn the economy around is bewildering. What is the fixation with growing beer-bellies for governments at all levels when we struggle to see the good use that has been put to, except for fattening already fattened cows and the anachronistic purpose of showing off to the world that all is well when the reverse is the case? As I keep arguing, what can be wrong with putting some money in the hands of the people at the bottom to enhance their purchasing power and drive production at that level? What is wrong with empowering small businesses through a tax rebate system that rewards innovation and entrepreneurship at the base?

In South Africa, I learnt that you do not have to register a business until it hits one million rands in value. You do not pay tax on an income less than 5000 rands. There is a National Small Business Act and a Minister for Small business Development. We must think it is all about touting GDP figures that claims this as the largest economy in Africa. Here, we go hunting what to tax the poor and creative small business owners for. Data, Telephony, Stamp duty, all sorts. We tax the poor for trade permit, lock shop permit, radio and TV licence, even when they do not have one, and outdoor advertising permit for first party signs in remote parts of the land. What is wrong with us? What is wrong with putting money in the hands of the people, so they can spend and drive the economy from the bottom?

It is the broader point of Jimoh Ibrahim’s proposal that I speak to. The philosophical premise upon which his proposal rests – that you cannot tax your way out of recession – is not one, I think, that should be arbitrarily dismissed. I do think there is a need for relief and rebate at the bottom rather than thinking up draconian measures such as the non-issuance of international passports, as has been allegedly proposed. One gets this feeling that we are more obsessed with saving Nigeria than Nigerians. There is a difference. May God help us to be able to tell the difference.

Nigeria taxpayers hit 13.4 million – FIRS

State tax authorities have added 3, 414, 496 million new taxpayers to the national tax register under six months, bringing the total number of individual taxpayers in the country to 13.4 million, the Federal Inland Revenue Service said Tuesday.

Kano State led the new taxpayer roll with about one million taxpayers (944, 376). Lagos followed with 320,000 new taxpayers. Plateau State is 3rd with 296,910, while Kaduna added 235,812 new tax paying men and women within the period.

Zamfara State is 5th on the list of new taxpayers’ table with 136,773.

Chairman Joint Tax Board, JTB, Tunde Fowler, who is also the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), disclosed this at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja on Monday, at the 136th meeting of the board.

Mr. Fowler noted that though the new 3.4 million roll of new taxpayers is cheering news, it is still a far cry of tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio of 30 per cent which is the average in most developed countries.

At the event, the FIRS Chairman; the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Hameed Ali; Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, Boboye Oyeyemi; Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, (NIS) Mohammed Babandede, — who was represented by N. E Graham-, discussed how robust inter-agency cooperation could enhance tax compliance and optimize revenue collection.

The Chief Executive Officers of the four agency heads, along with chairmen of the State Boards of Internal Revenue, also came up with fresh ideas on how real-time data sharing, automation of processes and operations by all SBIRs, revenue stakeholders, inter-operability of their databases, could enhance revenue generation and assist Nigeria to bake a bigger revenue cake.

The target of the JTB is to increase the number of individual taxpayers to 20 million, by December 2016.

The JTB Chairman noted that about 10 states are already sharing Withholding Tax (WHT) and Value Added Tax (VAT) data with the FIRS under the VAT data automation project.

This, he explained, is made possible by deployment of Information Communication Technology (ICT), equipment and installation of requisite software across the states.

Soon, the JTB Chairman promised, the Taxpayers Identification Number (TIN) cards would be upgraded to hold robust taxpayer data which all State Boards of Internal Revenue (SBIRs), FIRS and authorised stakeholders could query for taxpayer data status.

He announced too, that the collaboration between FIRS and the SBIRs was yielding fruits as their teams now conduct joint audits, share information on unremitted taxes and taxpayer education in many states among others.

Barcelona Star Neymar Faces Two Years In Prison Over Transfer Corruption

Brazil and Barcelona star Neymar could end up in jail after Spanish prosecutors recommended that he be sent to prison for two years for his part in a corruption case over his transfer from Brazilian club Santos in 2013.

Judge Jose Perals also called for a five-year sentence for former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell and a fine of 8.4million euros (£7.2m) for the club, according to the BBC.

Rosell, Neymar and Neymar’s father are set to stand trial.

The case is as a result of a complaint by a Brazilian company which owned 40% of Neymar’s transfer rights and complained that it was not given its fair share from the transfer fee.

The club struck a deal with prosecutors in June to settle a separate case, paid a £4.7m fine and avoided trial on charges of tax evasion over the transfer.

FEC approves agreement to avoid double taxation, evasion.

The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved a bilateral agreement for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of evasion of taxes on income and capital benefits between Nigeria and Singapore.


The Minister Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; and Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika briefed State House correspondents of the outcome of the meeting presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.


President Muhammadu Buhari was attending the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change also known as COP-22, in Marrakech, Morocco at the time of the meeting.


Adeosun said the objective of the agreement was to facilitate more trade between Nigeria and Singapore by ensuring that nationals or enterprises from either country are not taxed twice on income or profits derived from each of these countries.


She said, “It (the agreement) will encourage more direct foreign investments into Nigeria, allow investors to know what their tax obligations will be and ensure sustainable tax regime for each country.


“The basis for which we choose to sign this agreement with Singapore ?is that Singapore is a major trading partner with Nigeria.


“They buy oil from us. Petroleum export to Singapore for the last five years is about $264bn and we import about N311bn worth of goods from them. It is a major trading partner and we needed to have this bilateral agreement.


“It is basically to ensure that companies are not taxed twice but it also ensures that companies cannot evade tax when trading between the two countries.”


Sirika said the council approved ?Bilateral Air Service Agreement with the State of Qatar and Singapore and Nigeria.


He said Singapore was becoming the most efficient and the biggest hub around the far Eastern part of the globe, serving New Zealand, Australia, Japan, China, Singapore and Indonesia among others.

Wike urges NIS to assist ensure expatriates pay tax

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has urged the Nigerian Immigration Service to assist the state with the statistics of the entire expatriates working in the state for effective taxation.

Wike made the remark when he received the Controller of Immigration, Aminu Yarima, who paid him a courtesy call in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.

He said the statistics was necessary to ensure that the expatriates did not evade tax.

Wike alleged that most foreign companies in the state deliberately withhold the accurate number of foreigners working with them.
According to him, this makes it difficult for the state Revenue Service to collect the legal taxes.

Wike said: “We need the support of the Nigeria Immigration Service on the number of expatriates working in the state.

“This information is vital to our revenue drive.”

Wike said that a partnership between the NIS and the state Internal Revenue Service would go a long way to improving the state revenue base.

He also urged the NIS to step up security measures to stop suspected terrorist and illegal immigrants from filtering into the state.

According to him, the international nature of terrorism requires the Nigeria Immigration Service to be on top of the situation at all times.

In his remarks, Yarima commended the governor for improving the security in the state.

Tax laws will be examined to improve ease of doing business – Saraki

The President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday stated that the 8th Senate will work to streamline Nigeria’s multiple taxation system to improve the ease of doing business in the country.

Speaking at a dialogue at the 22nd Edition of the Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja, Saraki, while answering questions from the audience, stated that Nigeria’s corporate taxation system needed to be reformed and revamped to get the country out of the economic recession.

He said: “With 37 million small and medium scale enterprises providing about 95 per cent of our jobs, as we promote ‘Made in Nigeria’, we must also use our legislative powers to amend the taxation laws.

“To get out of this recession, we must provide a business-friendly environment.”

Speaking on the “Made in Nigeria” theme of the summit, the Senate President lauded the organisers for keying into the Senate’s plan to empower home-grown businesses and ensure that Nigerian brands are strong enough to be patronized by our people and exported abroad.

“Earlier this year, when in the Senate we started the ‘Made in Nigeria’ campaign, we knew how important it was, but even we did not foresee how far it would go,” Saraki said, adding: “To promote the patronage of our domestic businesses, the Senate has gone as far as amending the Public Procurement Act to compel government ministries, departments and agencies to key into this initiative.

“It is our hope that Nigerian businesses can begin to benefit from the over N2 trillion in government expenditure in the 2016 budget so that we can reduce the demand on foreign exchange while simultaneously creating employment, moving towards self sufficiency, increasing our GDP and boosting our Internally Generated Revenue.”

Saraki also stated that the anti-recession Bills that the Senate has scheduled for passage by December ending include: the Petroleum Industry Bill; the National Development Bank of Nigeria (Establishment) Bill; the Nigerian Ports and Habours Authority Act (Amendment) Bill; the National Road Fund (Establishment) Bill; the National Transport Commission Act of 2001; the Warehouse Receipts Act (Amendment) Bill; the Companies and Allied Matters Act; the Investment and Securities Act; the Customs and Excise Management Act; the Federal Competition Bill; and the National Road Authority Bill.

Saraki also mentioned that since the beginning of the year, the Senate has worked to fast-track the over 40 priority bills recommended by the National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable, an initiative in which the Nigerian Economic Summit Group is a major partner.

The Senate president also said one of the plans that the Senate has to ensure the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill in this administration is to break the Bill into different sections for easier passage.

He emphasised that with the passage of the PIB, Nigeria would generate more revenue from oil, putting it on track to come out of the economic recession.

“By focusing more on outcomes, rather than processes,” Saraki said, “the Nigerian Senate has been able to pass 20 Bills for Final Reading in two weeks.”

Jamilu Mabai?: Gov. Masari Annual Levy; The Right Policy Or The Good Policy

The news broke out a week ago, after the weekly council meeting when Hon Commissioner Ministry of water resources disclosed to news men the decision by the government of RT. Hon Aminu Bello Masari to introduce the annual tax levy for private/commercial motorcycles and tricycle users as a means revenue generating scheme.


The charges include N6, 200 for private motorcycles, N6, 650 for users of commercial motorcycles and 7, 500 for users of tricycles. Mathematically, users are expected to pay an overall sum of N19.00 (Naira Goma sha Tara) daily which is more than fair enough going by the economic stability of these users despite income differences.


Government policies differs, there are the right policy and the good policy. The right policy might not necessarily be in line with what the people want, secondly, it takes time before its begins to yield back dividends to the society, implementing right policy is the best that could ever happen to a society. Example when El-Rufai began to restore the Abuja master plan, even when majority of the people were against it, but years later people began to appreciate El-Rufai for implementing the right policies against all odds.


Although, users of these motorcycles & tricycles might perceived the new imposed levy on them by the government of Masari as unFAIR, it is with all sincerity, one of the only ways we can begin to generate revenue internally which ought to have been in existing right before now. At the long run, these same users whom pay their annual levy will benefit in many ways which include provision of drugs in hospitals, construction and maintenance of roads for easy commuting, economic empowerment to aid self reliance and many more.


Whereas, good policies provide short term benefits that provide instant gratification for a short period of time. The outcome result is discouraging, it lacks vision but mission only. With the dwindling economy, good policies are in NO way good for us, at this moment of existence.


For governor Masari to  come up with a vision like this, we hope & pray it gets the necessary backing, sincere minds to steer the wheel, great eyes to oversee where loopholes lies and good hands to patch it up.


Lastly, our attitude is our greatest impediment to attaining our full potential as a society, the day we begin to change our mindset positively towards making our society a better place, is the day when we shall begin to succeed as a society.


Written by

Jamilu Mabai

Online Publisher

Columnist at

Follow me on Twitter:@jaymb000


Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of nor its associates

FIRS Sets Strategies For Increased Tax Collection In 2016

The Executive Chairman,The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) said it had set specific strategies to increase tax collection to drive its proposed targets in 2016.


Mr Tunde Fowler, Executive Chairman of the Service, stated this in a document he signed which was made available to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja.


He said that the overall target was to ensure that Valued Added Tax (VAT) and Corporate Income Tax (CIT) became the largest contributors to tax collection in 2016.

Fowler said that in ensuring that VAT and CIT contributed more, the service would also ensure that collection from other taxes were significantly increased.

The chairman said that the strategies to achieve its targets included ensuring a minimum of 90 per cent compliance across all tax types and all taxpayer categories.

He said that the service would achieve 90 per cent compliance by increased focus on sector based audits to ensure that all audit backlogs were cleared.

Fowler said that the service would ensure maximum possible registration of taxpayers and would ensure the use of technology to block leakages and improve efficiency in collection.

He said that the service would strengthen tax administration by appointing new sector heads to drive tax compliance in the identified sectors, to improve performance management.

Fowler said that the service planned to improve in-house capacity building by training and re-training of staff sectors to improve working relationship with state boards of internal revenue on data sharing and joint audits.

He said that the service would increase use of taxpayer education, publicity and enlightenment to achieve improved compliance.

According to him, the service had begun extensive nationwide tax audit to enable the service to ensure strict compliance with the provision of tax laws.

Fowler added that the service had also planned to carry out extensive nationwide tax compliance in 2016.

He said that the service had started the pasting of non-compliance stickers on business premises of identified companies that had not filed and paid taxes for the last six months, including the newly registered companies.

The chairman said that more than 24,500 non-compliance stickers had been pasted to date and the exercise would continue through the year.

Fowler said that significant drop in oil prices in 2015 fiscal year had led to significantly lower collection from Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT), adding that the service would focus on non-oil taxes to meet the shortfall in the revenue collection.

NAN recalled that FIRS boss in February proposed a revenue target of N4.957 trillion for the service.




Messi Tax Fraud Charges Dropped

Authorities determined that the Barcelona and Argentina star was not aware of alleged manoeuvres to avoid fiscal obligations, given his age at the time of the infractions

Lionel Messi has seen charges of tax evasion against him dropped as prosecutors in Catalunya seek 18 months imprisonment for his father, Jorge Messi.

The Barcelona star had been accused of avoiding €4.1 million in tax obligations from 2007 to 2009, related to payments on image rights. 

But Spanish authorities opted to file the charges against him, marking his father as responsible for the alleged fraudulent acts.

“It is not plausible to think that his unawareness [of events] was intentional, or carried out seeking to defraud the Public Treasury,” the prosecutor’s ruling explained. 

As such, the office deemed that, given Messi’s age and close links with his father, it was Jorge who looked after the player’s business interests and “control of tax obligations”. 

Messi could, however, be called upon to testify in the case against Jorge, who has acted as his son’s agent throughout his professional career. 

As well as a possible custodial sentence, Messi Sr. could face a fine of €2 million if found guilty on the charges.

FIRS Generates N1.8tn Tax In Six Months

The acting Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Sunday Ogungbesan, yesterday disclosed that the service had generated a whopping N1.842 trillion from taxes into the federation account in the first half of the year.

Ogungbesan made this disclosure yesterday while briefing the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on the performance of the agency in the last six months.He was accompanied to the meeting by members of the senior management team of the agency.

However, he disclosed that the figure was a far cry from what is accruable into the nation’s treasury, observing that the numerous social, political and economic challenges confronting the nation have been impeding the flow of revenues into the federation account.

Giving a breakdown of the income, Odugbesan said the agency realized N697 billion as Petroleum Profit Tax; N778 billion as the Company Income Tax and N376 billion as Value Added Tax (VAT).

According to him, the agency was still expecting between N12 billion and N15 billion as import VAT from the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), adding that the annual target of FIRS in the oil and gas sector is N1.4 trillion with additional N123.74 billion as its monthly target.

Furthermore, the FIRS boss said whereas N150 billion was collected from the oil sector in January and February, the figure went down to N93 billion in March.

Read Morethisdaylive

Multiple Taxes: Telcos Threaten To Shut Down Networks


Nigerian telecom operators have said that the over N10 billion annual multiple taxations levied them by local, state and federal governments and their agencies was threatening the survival of the telecom sector as investors may be pushed to divest from the sector which may in turn aggravate the quality on networks.
About eight states and their local governments have issued notices to telecom operators to pay taxes and levies exceeding N10 billion annually.
Speaking under the aegis of the Industry Working Group (IWG) on multiple taxations in the telecom industry, the operators and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday in Lagos said the survival of the industry now depends on all stakeholders, prevailing on the states and local governments to stop insisting on collecting taxes and levies on operators’ infrastructures such as base stations and masts.
The chairman of the IWG and Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management at NCC, Mr. Okey Itanyi, said that multiple taxation portends a grave danger for the telecoms industry if not quickly addressed. “The country may lose the gains and confidence achieved so far in the last couple of years.
The industry still requires investments in network infrastructure to ensure full access across the country, and to guarantee good and acceptable quality of service which has become a major challenge,” he said.
According to the vice chairman of the IWG, Mrs. Oyeronke Oyetunde, multiple taxation has been impeding telecoms growth in recent past.
She explained that a situation where a local government authority is demanding about N10million on each site from telecoms operators for building base stations in their vicinity, apart from other levies the operators have to contend with at the state and federal levels, would hinder operators in providing quality telecoms services to the generality of Nigerians, irrespective of their locations.
She noted that as a result of delay often experienced in infrastructure rollout, telecoms companies have only been able to deploy barely 20,000 base stations in the country, stressing that over 70, 000 base stations would be required in Nigeria, given its large size, to provide ubiquitous telecoms services.
“If you have a local government demanding N10m from an operator and you now multiply that by the number of Local Government Areas we have in the country, you would see that this is unsustainable in the long run for the operators.
It is either you kick the operators out of business or force them to pass the cost accrued to them through such illegal taxations their customers in form high tariff,” she said.
The President, National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, Chief Deolu Ogunbajo, noted that between 2006 and 2007, operators were charged about N10, 000 and N20, 000. “And more recently, the charges in form of multiple taxations and illegal demand of some frivolous levies, have run into millions of naira. This is unfavourable as operators may have to pass this cost to subscribers,” he said.
A representative of the Association of Licenced Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) and member of the IWG, Mr. Tobe Okigbo, said, “The operators may not have other choices than to push additional cost incurred to their subscribers rather than allow a telecom firm to totally shut down.”
Okigbo gave the indication during the maiden media parley of the IWG on multiple taxation which was set up by the NCC to address ongoing cases of multiple taxation and its potential dangers on telecom growth in the country.
The group called for urgent action by the government at all levels to support the industry’s stakeholders in nipping the incessant cases of multiple taxation and illegal and frivolous taxes in the bud to prevent operators passing the cost of the taxes on the over 96 million telecom subscribers on their various networks in form of increased tariff.
Via All Africa



The Senate has called upon the Federal Roads Safety Commission (FRSC) to suspend its plans to issue new driver’s licenses and license plates to the Nigerian people for a fee.
The Senate is toeing the line the Representatives took late last year when the lower chamber directed the FRSC to cease and desist from its plans.
The Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-governmental Affairs has been mandated to conduct a public hearing on the scheme.
Mover of the motion, Senator Awaisu Kuta said, “The Act empowers the FRSC to primarily, prevent and minimize accidents on the highways and clear obstructions on any part of the highways and educate drivers, motorists and other members of the public generally on the proper use of highways.
“The Commission was not established principally as a revenue-generating agency for the states and federal government. In recent times, the FRSC embarked on frequent and arbitrary introduction and re-introduction of vehicles number plates and drivers’ licenses and the Commission will ultimately be generating a whooping N2 billion annually as its own share of the new scheme.
“The August 31, 2012 dateline issued by FRSC for the enforcement of the new scheme is not feasible because the current demand for vehicle license surpasses supply and thereby subjecting applicants to wait for as long as three months after payment before receiving number plates.”
The motion is supported by 19 other Senators. Also making contributions to the debate, Senator Barnabas Gemade stated that the action of FRSC was “controversial” due to an ongoing court case brought by the Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO) which hinders the FRSC from embarking on the issuance of license plates.
Senator Smart Adeyemi contributed, “”it’s clear that the FRSC has gone beyond its mandate. It’s our responsibility to call this Commission to order. They should work within the framework of the law. The cost of procuring the number plates is too high for the common man.”
The new driver’s license has been increased to N 6,000 from the previous N 3,000. License plates increased 300% to N 15,000 from the previous N 5,000. Some classes of vehicles would have to pay as much as N 40,000 for the new plates.
Reacting to the development, Ifeanyi Idibia, a commercial bus driver, jubilated stating, “Now I can have more money to feed my family. I was saving to be able to meet up for these costs. Thank God for our senators that is having the interest of the people at heart.”
Via Business News