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Nigeria lost N5.4tn to tax evasion by multinationals – FIRS chairman

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Nigeria lost over $178 billion (about N5.4 trillion) through tax evasion by multinationals operating in the country between 2007 and 2017, Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Muhammad Nami, has said.

He stated this on Monday at a workshop on effective audit of multinational corporations for domestic revenue mobilisation in Nigeria, which was organised by the service in partnership with the Tax Justice Network.

A statement by the Director, Communications and Liaison Department at the FIRS, Dr Abdullahi Ahmad, quoted Nami as also saying with the signing of the 2021 budget of N13.58 trillion by President Muhammadu Buhari and given the recent decline in oil resources, the major revenue earner for the country, taxation, was expected to continue to shoulder the government’s budget performance the way it did in 2020.

He also said the service had created 35 additional tax audit units over the last one year to stem illicit financial outflows as well as improve tax compliance rate among corporations.

He said many “rich multinational corporations do not pay the right taxes due from them, let alone pay their taxes voluntarily.”

He, however, stated that some of the companies were “leading in tax compliance in various sectors.”

The FIRS boss cited a 2014 report by the High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, saying, “Nigeria accounted for 30.5 per cent of money lost by the continent through illicit financial flows.”

Nami also said, “At the FIRS, we are paying greater attention to tax audit in general and transfer pricing audit in particular in order to improve the level of tax compliance in the country.

“As a result, in the last one year, we have created more than 35 additional tax audit units and deployed experienced and capable staff to take charge of these offices.”

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N5bn Debt: AMCON Takes Over Mansions Of Ex-Gov Abdulfatah Ahmed

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The Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has taken over some houses belonging to former Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed of Kwara State over a N5 billion debt.

The property is located at No. 9A Abdulrazaq Street, GRA, Ilorin.

Jude Nwazor, spokesman of AMCON, confirmed this to Daily Trust in a telephone chat.

He, however, said the debt was a personal one by the former governor.

Nwazor said all efforts to peacefully resolve the loan had been frustrated by the former governor which left AMCON no other choice than to seek justice in court.

In a statement, he later issued, Nwazor said, “AMCON had taken over the Non-Performing Loans of the former governor and his companies… from the former Intercontinental Bank, FinBank and Bank PHB during the first phase of EBA purchases, in line with its mandate under the AMCON Act.
“All efforts to peacefully resolve the loan had been frustrated by the former Governor who remained recalcitrant, which left AMCON no other choice than to seek justice in court.”

Ahmed, who succeeded former Senate President Bukola Saraki, governed Kwara between 2011 and 2019.

Currently, he is not holding any political office.

But some hours ago, he joined forces with some prominent Nigerians to establish a Third Force known as the Rescue Nigeria Project (RNP).

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Buhari Orders FIRS To Tax Digital Transactions

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President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the deployment of technology to tax all digital transactions carried out across the country.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha disclosed this at the 17th General Assembly and 10th anniversary of the West Africa Tax Administration Forum (WATAF) in Abuja Tuesday.

The assembly is a high-level policy dialogue on taxation of the digital economy, organised by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The SGF  said the President gave the order to tax authority to ensure digital transactions were taxed digitally,  and the goal of their efforts was to achieve seamless digital collection and remittance of tax revenue accrued from the digital economy.

He said the President had directed the deployment of technology to good effect in revenue collection and remittance as a matter of government policy.

The SGF said this is supported by the amendment to the tax laws and empowering the tax authority to deploy technology in tax.

Mustapha said: “Our definition of what to collect- whether we call it income tax, Digital Service Tax or Value Added Tax, must address the issue of redefining who a taxable person or entity is, to accommodate the fact that digital transactions side-track the ordinary and traditional understanding of jurisdiction.”

In his remarks, the Chairman of FIRS, Mr Mohammed Nami called for collaborative efforts among African states to generate income from digital-oriented businesses.

He said: “Tax regulators and other industry stakeholders must therefore rise up to the challenge of being in a position to tap into the stream of opportunity that advancements in science and technology afford us. Science and Technology is not only about rockets going to space, it is also about effective tax collection and we must maximize it in every possible way we can.”

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Buhari wants petroleum, finance ministers removed from NNPC board

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President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the National Assembly to remove the  ministers of Finance and Petroleum from the board of the soon-to-be incorporated board of the Nigerian  National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.)

The request is contained in his letter seeking an amendment to the recently enacted Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) by the Senate and the House of Representatives.

He also asked the Senate to confirm appointments made for the boards of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and two other federal agencies.

These are the Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority..

The President on Sunday named a nine-member board for the NNPC Ltd headed by Senator Ifeanyi Araraume.

The President’s letter titled  “Forwarding administrative structure amendments to the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 was read to   Senators by Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, during yesterday’s plenary.

He listed three sections of the PIA that he wants to be amended as 11(2)(b) and 34(2)(b);  11(2)(f-g) and 34(2)(f-g);  as well as   11(3).

The President explained in the letter that amendments to the sections were needed to make for seamless administrative structure in the Act.

He also cited unbalanced geo-political representation as a reason for his request to remove the ministers of Finance and Petroleum from the NNPC Ltd. board.

A part of the letter reads, “I wish to forward to the Senate the attached Administrative Structure Amendments of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 for your kind consideration and approval.

“Having carefully reviewed the administrative structure of both the Commission and the Authority; I would like to propose the following amendments to the PIA 2021:

“Appointment of non-executive board members: The Petroleum Industry Act 2021 provided for the appointment of two non-executive members for the board of the two regulatory institutions.

“I am of the view that this membership limitation has not addressed the principle of balanced geopolitical representation of the country, therefore, I pray for the intervention of the 9th Assembly to correct this oversight in the interest of our national unity.

“Needless to add that this amendment will provide a sense of participation and inclusion to almost every section of the country in the decision-making of strategic institutions such as the oil industry.

“If this amendment is approved, it will now increase the number of the non-executive members from two to six that is one person from each of the six geopolitical zones of the country.

“Removal of the Ministries of Petroleum and Finance from the board of the two institutions:

The proposed amendment will increase the membership of the board from nine to 13 that is representing a 44 percent expansion of the board site.

“This composition would strengthen the institutions and guarantee national spread and also achieve he expected policy contributions.

“The two ministries already have constitutional responsibilities of either supervision or inter-governmental relations. They can continue to perform such roles without being on the board.

“It is also important to note that administratively, the representatives of the ministries in the board will be Directors – being the same rank with the Directors in the institution. This may bring some complications in some decision making especially on issues of staff-related matters.

“Appointment of Executive Directors: The Act has made provision for seven Departmental Heads in the Authority to be known as Executive Directors. Their appointment will also be subject to Senate confirmation. This category of officers is civil servants and not political appointees.

“The Senate is invited to note the need to exempt serving public officers from the established confirmation process for political appointments.

“This will ensure effective management of the regulatory Institutions through the uniform implementation of public service rules for employees of the Authority. In the future, these positions will obviously be filled by the workers in the authority.”

Also yesterday, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said in a statement  that the names of the EFCC, the  Upstream Regulatory Commission, and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority board members were contained in another letter to the Senate

Adesina’s statement partly read,  “Nominees for the EFCC board are George Abang Ekpungu from Cross River State (secretary);  Lukman Muhammed, (Edo);  Anumba Adaeze (Enugu);  Alhaji Kola Adesina (Kwara);  and Alhaji Yahaya Muhammad (Yobe).

“For the upstream Regulatory Commission, Isa Ibrahim Modibbo is nominated as chairman; Gbenga Komolafe, chief executive; Hassan Gambo, executive commissioner in charge of  Finance and Accounts; and  Rose C. Ndong, executive commissioner, Exploration and Acreage Management.

“Chairman nominee of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority is Idaere Gogo Ogan;  Sarki Auwalu, chief executive; Abiodun  Adeniji, executive director in charge of  Finance and Accounts; and Ogbugo Ukoha, executive director, Distributions Systems, Storage and Retail Infrastructure.”

The Nation

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