FG has no plans to increase taxes – Udoma Udoma

Udoma Udoma, minister of budget and national planning, says the federal government has no intention of increasing taxes.

In a statement signed by Akpandem James, Udoma’s media adviser, the minister said the government is working towards broadening its tax revenue base.

According to the statement, Udoma made the clarification while responding to a comment by Ben Bruce, a senator, at a public hearing of the joint session of the national assembly on the 2017 budget.

“A view has been expressed that we should not increase taxes, that we should broaden tax collection instead, that is precisely what is in the budget,” he said.

“There is no increase in VAT, there is no increase in company’s income tax, there is no increase at all in taxes, but people who are not paying taxes must be made to pay.

“So the idea is to increase revenue by broadening the tax base, not by increasing taxes.’’

The statement said Bruce had given the impression that the federal government was about to increase taxes, a development that he said would further worsen the economic fortunes of individuals and businesses.

While speaking on the economic recovery and growth plan, Udoma said government consulted with the private sector extensively on the plan.

He said the government had a clear vision and is determined path to get the economy out of recession.

“We are determined, thereafter, to begin to go back to the path of growth, a more diversified growth, not depending just on crude oil,” he said.

“We want to stimulate our manufacturing sector, we want to stimulate agriculture; so we have a coherent, cohesive plan.”

Nigeria has to raise taxes to exit recession – PwC CEO

The Country Senior Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers Nigeria, Uyi Akpata, discusses the performance of the economy and government policies with IFE OGUNFUWA

What is your assessment of the Nigerian economy and the policies that have been introduced to keep it afloat?

I remain very optimistic because we can see that the government and the private sector appear to align in terms of where we think the real change needs to come from. It was very obvious from the beginning that we needed to stimulate the economy.

So discussions about loans are timely and if you look at that against the backdrop of a government that is preaching transparency, if we match those two together and we get those funds into real development, then we are on the path to economic recovery.

It is going to be challenging, as I tell my people internally, and we need to redouble our efforts to come out of recession.

What policies should be introduced to come out of recession?

I think the policies have been fairly consistent though the economy is telling us a different thing. From a very clear point of view, we are still quite dependent on foreign currency. Ultimately, if we reduce our dependence on that and drive economic development, things will turn around. We need to plough those funds into the real sector. One area I will like to see quick change is in encouraging the private sector.

All the loans that are coming in will help but it is going to be on the long term. The government should just target the policies around the ease of doing business. The foreign funds coming into Nigeria will be very significant. People will want to bring in such funds when they know they can get proper returns from them under a more stable environment.

What type of taxes should be reviewed?

It is like a catch-22 situation in which you say companies or businesses are doing badly and you are thinking of increasing taxes. The truth is that when we think about the ratio of taxes to Gross Domestic Product, Nigeria is one of the lowest. It means that there is a huge gap for us to explore. So, if there is anyone interested in real development in Nigeria, then we have to recognise that we have to raise the basis for taxes. That is one of the income and revenue streams that will see us out of these economic doldrums.

Is increased government spending capable of reducing the high inflation rate, which is currently at 18.48 per cent?

That will be in the short term. But if the government provides such funds and real development takes place, there is going to be a plateau at some time and obviously, we will be better for it. There are still challenging times ahead but I believe we have seen the worst of it, at least from the feelers around us. But we still have people who are just like ‘let’s just get round this curve.’

Everyone is anxious to see things happening. When we are dealing with the government from different areas, people are excited and saying they want to invest in entertainment, tourism, capital projects and infrastructure. Lagos State Government, for instance, is one of the clients we interact with.

People want to do business here because they see the potential. The opportunity in Europe is very limited. Africa still remains the destination but we just need to send the clear-cut signals that we are ready to support such investments.

How do you reconcile Nigeria’s continued dependence on crude oil with the measure to diversify the economy?

We survived on $30 oil price for a long time and $50 is an exciting price. I am happy with what people are saying about the issue of security because if we ramp up production to about 2.5 million barrels a day, the price will not be a factor provided we deal with issues related to OPEC membership.

A price of $50 with a production range of 2.5 million barrels a day is enough for us to stimulate the economy. At least, let’s learn our lessons from the past. Alternative sources will be a key way to go. Mining and, to a limited extent, cash crop agriculture may be medium to long term. But we cannot get rid of oil as it were because we need oil for us to expand and create other alternative sources of revenue.

It is just about reducing our foreign exchange exposure and looking at other sectors. They are many, like tourism. Some colleagues came from South Africa and decided to spend the weekend here for the first time. They said that the potential we have in terms of natural resources available for tourism was far superior to what they have in Cape Town. And when we look at it, maybe four million people visit Cape Town and here we have less than half a million coming into the country. There are different areas cutting across the country. It is just for us to improve security, infrastructure and power, then leave the rest and we will thrive.

What is your view on the nation’s growing foreign debt?

When you look at our population and the ratio in terms of our ability to repay these funds, we still have strong capacity to borrow. The most important thing with borrowing is that we should utilise it for value-added projects and infrastructure. And if you are doing it on the platform of a government that is seen to be more transparent, then our chances of leveraging those investments or getting absolute returns over a long period will be more possible.

Nigeria is an ongoing concern. You don’t look at Nigeria and say we need this in the next three to four years. We will be here in a hundred years; so we need those investments that are sustainable so that when people look at the country in 50-year time, they will see the giant strides because we made an investment of N30bn today. If you sit back and say we won’t invest in the real sector, that the money we put there will be detrimental to the people, then we are not building a sustainable economy.

How significant is the PwC alumni dinner?

This year is particularly symbolic because we just moved to a new office and it is an opportunity to tell our alumni family that we will continue to do those investments to sustain the PwC name itself as it relates to the quality of services and ethics in business conduct that we are noted for.


Source: PUNCH

Minister stops FIRS from revenue collection for FCT

In line with the new act of the Federal Capital Territory, the Minister, Mohammed Bello, has stopped the Federal Inland? Revenue Service from further collecting revenue for the territory.

The amended FCT Act came into being in 2015 and one of its provisions make the FCT Internal Revenue Service the sole revenue collector for the territory.

The minister, it was gathered in Abuja, has written the FIRS Chairman, Babatunde Fowler, that the services of the Federal Government’s agency were no longer required in the collection of revenue for FCT.

Reliable sources? in the FCT Administration confirmed that the minister has consequently directed the FCT Inland Revenue Services to solely be responsible for revenue collection in the territory.

Both the FCT and the FIRS had agreed based on the directive from the Presidency that the FIRS assist to jointly with FCT IRS collect revenue in the territory on behalf of the FCT Administration pending when the FCT IRS possesses the capacity.

But an informed source in the FCT Administration told InsideBusiness that the stoppage of revenue collection by FIRS was not unconnected with the 4 per cent cost of collection, which accrue to the FIRS from the revenue collected in the FCT.

Unlike the FIRS, the FCT IRS does not enjoy cost of collection.

The FCT IRS collects gross revenue of between N3 billion and N4 billion monthly, according to sources at the ministry.

“The minister has communicated with the FIRS that the FCT will be solely responsible for revenue collection from October 2016?,” the source said.

It was further learnt that a dissatisfied FIRS Chairman had put a call to the FCT Permanent Secretary, Tope Ajakaiye, on why he wasn’t informed ahead of the decision.

Fowler was told by Ajakaiye that he was just hearing the decision from him.

An official of the FCT IRS, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also confirmed that the FIRS was no longer collecting revenue for FCTA.

The official disclosed that by the FCT law, FIRS wasn’t supposed to collect revenue for the FCT Administration.

“The FCT IRS has the capacity to collect revenue for the FCT Administration. And we have been netting between N3 billion and N4 billion monthly,” the source stated.

When contacted, the Special Adviser to the FCT Minister on Media, Sani Abubakar, said he wasn’t aware but would find out the true position and communicate.

Abubakar had not responded as at press time?.

Sources at the FIRS said the Service has not stopped completely, adding that the FCT will be collecting personal income tax and payee in the territory.

He said: “FCT IRS just started about one month ago.

“FIRS will still collect its basic collection, which include VAT, CIT, education tax and the Petroleum Products Tax.

“We got the directives to it during the current regime.

“It’s a distraction to FIRS.”

The FIRS official, who preferred anonymity, stated that the directive that the FIRS should assist FCT came from the Presidency because the territory does not have the spread and requisite expertise to handle it.

The official said: “So the arrangement is that we will assist them and stop when they have the capacity.

“It’s not a permanent arrangement, but stop gap measures.

“I think FCT is now in a position to do it now.”

Touts have hijacked collection of taxes, levies in Abuja – Reps

Nigerian lawmakers on Thursday raised alarm over indiscriminate collection of taxes and levies by unscrupulous individuals across the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, warning undiscerning residents not to fall prey to swindlers.


These dubious elements, the lawmakers said, have taken over the role of FCT Internal Revenue Service and now parade themselves as genuine staff of the tax collection office.


The awareness was contained in a motion of urgent national concern raised by Emmanuel Oker-Jev at the resumed plenary Thursday.


Mr. Oker-Jev, from Benue State, said fraudsters have been collecting revenues from Abuja residents for several months.


The lawmaker said the crooks have become so brazen in their rackets that they now write tax and levies invoices to residents. In some cases, those who fail to pay bills are being thrown out of their property by the touts.


Mr. Oker-Jev said the perpetrators of the brazen illegality are exploiting a 2015 approved list for tax collection around the nation’s capital to carry out their trade.


“The act pretends an affront on the FCT Inland Revenue Service Act and Tax Laws of the Federation,” Mr. Oker-Jev said in his prepared motion.


Other lawmakers who contributed to the motion blamed the FCT revenue office for failing to set up additional departments recommended by the House for collection of taxes and levies, giving the touts an opening to impersonate revenue officers.


Speaker Yakubu Dogara ruled that the motion was adopted and urged the House’s FCT Committee to find out why the city’s revenue office did not implement previous resolutions by the House on the matter.


The committee is expected to submit its report within four weeks.


In the interim, the House passed a resolution for residents around the FCT to disregard taxes and levies from the questionable individuals.

FIRS Shut Down Bolingo Hotels Over Failure To Pay Taxes.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service in it’s bid to bring defaulting tax payers to the book have shut down the popular Bolingo Hotel in Abuja over failure to pay outstanding tax of N24,422,572.84.

According to a statement from the tax body, Bolingo Hotels and Towers, located in Central Business District (Central Area) is said to have accumulated the debt in taxes from 2002 till 2016.

An enforcement team led by Bukar Umar Gana had carried out the continued crackdown on tax defaulting companies in Abuja Wednesday, October 19, 2016.

In the same vein, the FIRS enforcement team in Lagos sealed the offices of the Nigerian German Chemicals Limited, located at Oba Akran Avenue, Ikeja, over a tax debt in excess of N146.6 million.

Apple Japan Unit Ordered To Pay $118m Tax for Under Reporting Income

An Apple Inc iTunes unit in Japan was ordered to pay some 12 billion yen ($118 million) in tax by local authorities after underreporting income, media reported Friday.

The unit has since paid the amount, the reports said.

The Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau determined that the unit, which sends part of its profits earned from fees paid by Japan subscribers to another Apple unit in Ireland to pay for software licensing, had not been paying a withholding tax on those earnings in Japan, according to broadcaster ‘NHK’.

Apple could not be immediately reached for comment outside of U.S. business hours. The tax bureau declined to comment.

Apple and other multinational companies have come under much tax scrutiny from governments around the world.

The European Union has ordered Apple to pay Ireland 13 billion euros ($14.6 billion) in back taxes after ruling it had received illegal state aid.

Apple and Dublin plan to appeal the ruling, arguing the tax treatment was in line with EU law.

Why FG Wants Taxes On Phone Calls, Text Messages, Data– Minister

Adebayo Shittu, the Minister of Communication, says a proposal by the Nigerian government to impose a 10 per cent tax on phone calls, text messages, data and more, would help enhance telecommunication services in the country.

The plan has been widely criticised.

But Mr. Shittu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Osogbo, Osun State, that the proposed tax would also help to improve telecommunication infrastructure.

“We have a lot of deficiency in the provision of infrastructure in the telecommunication sector.

“And I believe that those who proposed the bill must have thought that government centrally relies on tax because without tax, government cannot operate,” he said.

The minister said the ministry was proposing a workshop to sensitise the public on the new bill.

“We are proposing a workshop on the bill for all stakeholders in telecommunication services, operators and even ordinary man.

“I hope that at the appropriate time, when the figures are out, everybody will appreciate the need for such a tax in which at the end of the day will improve services and make everybody happy.

“Everybody is complaining every day over lack of quality and good services, drop calls and all of that.

“All these are caused by deficiency in infrastructure and Nigerians, I believe that we cannot shy away from what will provide government with resources to improve facilities,” Shittu said.

The minister promised that the government would continue to provide enabling environment for telecommunication operators in the country.

Credit: NAN

Proprietors Of Private Schools Cry Out Over Multiple Taxes In Plateau

Proprietors of private schools in Plateau have cried out over what they called multiple taxes in the state.
They also expressed the fear that “such massive extortion” could lead to the closure of some institutions.

“The taxes are not only very heavy, but so many.

` We have been trying to get the authorities to harmonise them otherwise it will be very difficult for many of us to cope,” Chief Ezekiel Sabo, President, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) in Plateau, said on Sunday.

Sabo, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), listed the taxes to include the N200,000 charged schools whose registration process was still on-going.

Other charges, he said, included the annual renewal fee of between N75,000 and N200,000, depending on the number of arms as well as the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) taxes paid on behalf of school workers.

He said that the proprietors were also charged separate taxes, depending on the income and size of the school.

“In the case of proprietor’s tax, government officials will just call for your books, assess them and declare what you will pay.
` Nothing is specified and there is no criteria to prepare you ahead,” he said.

Other charges include tenement rate paid to local governments in addition to that collected by the Fire Service.

Sabo said that NAPPS had met with officials of the Ministry of Education, Board of Internal Revenue and local government councils where it pleaded that the taxes be reviewed and harmonised to ease payment.

“We need such review and harmonisation to enable us plan ahead and stay afloat,” he said.

On service delivery, he said NAPPS had mapped out strategies, including peer review mechanisms as well as consistent training of teachers to boost quality.

He called for a law to make it mandatory for individuals or groups seeking to establish private schools to first seek clearance from NAPPS so as to ensure quality and minimise proliferation of private schools.

“NAPPS should be given powers to regulate schools.

“Such powers will include inspecting the emerging schools to be sure they met standards and conformed with basic requirements,” he said.

Sabo also called for more involvement of NAPPS in educational policies, wondering why the body was usually left out in spite of the crucial role it was playing in the provision of quality education.

He also decried a situation where assistance to schools was never extended to private schools.

“The private and public schools have one goal – educating young Nigerians toward a better country; so it is wrong to assist one and leave the other since the goal and benefits are one,’’ he said.

Sabo, who also reacted to the alleged involvement of private schools in examination malpractice, said:

“I don’t know about the situation in other states, but in Plateau, not many private schools are guilty of that.

“In 2014, for instance, out of nine schools indicted for examination malpractice during WAEC and NECO examinations, only three were private schools.

“In 2015, nine schools were also indicted; none of them was a private school.’’

He said that private schools were usually more careful during the examinations “because the torch lights of examination bodies are always on us.

“We have the fear that anyone that is caught will have his school closed, in addition to other sanctions.

“But for the government schools, the worst punishment is to transfer the principal, so they do not have much to lose,” he explained.

Sabo, however, urged government and other employers to de-emphasise certificate qualifications and rather opt for quality and experience so as to minimise the craze for undeserved grades at examinations.

The president said that NAPPS would soon set up a disciplinary committee to check unwholesome practices among members, vowing to rid private schools of people whose main concern was profit.



Economic Council Meeting: FG Says No Plan To Increase Taxes

The federal government says it has no plans to increase company taxes or Value Added Tax in the country despite the dwindling oil revenue.

It, however, said that it would do all it can to ensure that Nigerians pay their taxes as and when due.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, said this while giving an update on the 2016 budget before the National Assembly.

This, according to him, was the outcome of the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

He said that the budget is geared towards stimulating the economy and promoting inclusive growth and that the federal government would build an economy that is less vulnerable to oil price shocks by creating resistant divested income base and creating efficient public financial management system.

He said that government would partner states and local governments to recruit, train and deploy 500,000 unemployed graduates as teachers.

He added that the Vice President’s office was also working to design an implementable and transparent conditional cash transfer programme of 5,000 Naira monthly to one million poorest and most vulnerable..

During its briefing, the Economic Council said that the balance of the excess crude account as at December 31, 2015 stood at $2.257 billion.

Council said that it has also resolved the situation where revenue agencies collect monies in foreign currency but remit such accounts in Naira into the federation account.

Credit: ChannelsTv

Mascherano Confirms Tax Agreement And Will Avoid Prison Sentence

The Barcelona defender says he has reached an agreement with Spanish authorities over alleged unpaid taxes and blamed those who poorly advised him for the mess

Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano has released a statement in which he says he has reached an agreement with Spanish authorities concerning charges of tax fraud.

The Argentina international appeared in court in an effort to avoid a custodial sentence being handed down as a result of two counts of tax evasion.

Mascherano had failed to declare earnings in 2011 and 2012 which amounted to €1.5million.

Reports emerged in Spain earlier on Thursday to suggest that Mascherano had been handed a year in prison and a significant fine, but the former Liverpool man says an agreement has been reached with the Treasury which gives him “peace of mind”.

He has also suggested he could pursue legal action himself against the firm which he claims gave him poor advice and which led to the case being opened.

An official statement from Mascherano, published on Barcelona’s website, read: “I want to clarify some issues related to recent news about myself.

“As of today, I have reached an agreement with the Spanish tax authorities. As such, with the legal side resolved and with the confidence of having sorted my financial situation, I want to issue a short explanation.

“After agreeing to come to Barcelona, I hired a prestigious Spanish tax firm, with renowned professionals and an excellent reputation. In agreement with my situation, they recommended certain structures to me, all within the legal framework, always notifying me that the procedures were common, transparent and in accordance with the law.

“I was advised by said professionals from the year 2010 until 2014, when I decided to change firms before the process was opened against me and with evidence that my problem was no longer a possibility but a reality.

“My new advisors recommended I pay the taxes demanded by the Treasury, presenting what they called ‘corrections’.

“Now, finally and following a bitter delay, we have reached this agreement, which restores to me the peace of mind of having fulfilled my obligations.

“I’m a professional sportsman, I don’t have huge knowledge of tax or legal matters. As such, I lean on the people who handle these technical and, for me, complex terms.

“Throughout my career I’ve been an honest and responsible person, respecting my team-mates, the clubs for whom I have played and the countries where I have chosen to live.

“This situation I’ve had to go through has given me greater experience, from which I move on stronger and relaxed as I knew things were back in order.

“I reserve the possibility of taking action against those who made incorrect assessments and recommended things to me that were not correct.”

Gov. Ayade Rejects Proposal To Increase Taxes

The Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has promised that his administration would not impose further taxes on the people of the state but would rather harness the natural resources that abound to better the lot of the people.

Governor Ayade made the promise at the government house in Calabar the state capital, in reaction to a presentation made to him by a consulting firm and a financial institution on how to increase the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) by introducing new tax heads.

He said that his administration is poised towards reducing the hardship of the low income earners rather than make life difficult for them through tax levies.

Ayade lamented that the model presented by the investors, which according to them has worked in Lagos and Ogun states to boost their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), would rather add to the hardship being suffered by the people.

Speaking further, he said that he was not in support of taxing people in order to raise money, but believes in tasking his brain to generate income by taking advantage of the many natural resources that abound in the state.

He stated that he represents the people who voted for him and their interest comes first.

Credit: ChannelsTV