Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler has disclosed that the agency has generated over N23 billion in unpaid taxes.
While speaking at the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Interactive Forum on Tax Matters, Fowler said the N23 billion was generated from the recently suspended substitution exercise on corporate bank accounts, marked by the imposition of restriction on the accounts of tax-defaulting organisations.
Recall that the FIRS had last week, halted the freezing of bank accounts of tax defaulters. The agency made this known in a series of tweets from its Twitter handle, which was also posted as a press release.
BREAKING: FIRS Directs Banks To Lift Lien On Tax Defaulters' Accounts
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has written to banks, directing them to lift the lien on tax defaulters' bank accounts for 30 days.
— FIRS Nigeria (@firsNigeria) February 15, 2019
Addressing the suspension of the exercise, Fowler stated that the suspension was occasioned by the deluge of corporate taxpayers visiting FIRS offices to regularise their tax affairs and make payments, a situation that stretched the service administratively, as it could not lift the lien on their accounts as quickly as it wished. Thus, the FIRS directed banks to lift restrictions on such accounts to allow affected tax companies to regularise their tax status within 30 days and begin to make arrangements for the liquidation of their tax liabilities.
Prior to the move to suspend tax defaulters’ bank accounts, KPMG in a note recently issued had criticised the FIRS’ action, tagging it draconian.
“nothing in the cita or firsea authorises the firs to impose a
freeze order on a taxpayer’s bank account beyond the amount of tax proven to be due and payable by that taxpayer. the requirement directed to banks not to honour mandates from taxpayers over and above the tax amount supposedly proven by firs to be due and payable is without foundation and goes too far.” KPMG noted.
Meanwhile, it is pertinent to note that the agency’s tax collection hit an all-time high of N4 trillion. The agency exceeded its 2016 tax revenue collection by 20%. Taxes collected by the body thus increased from N3.3 trillion in 2016 to N4.0 trillion in 2017.
About the FIRS
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) started as part of a colonial tax organisation under the name Inland Revenue Department of Anglophone West Africa. The department’s scope of administration covered Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and the Gambia. In 1943, the Nigerian Inland Revenue Department was carved out of the Inland Revenue Department of Anglophone West Africa and established as an autonomous body under the supervision of the Commissioner of Income Tax.
Nigerian Governors who have tested positive for Coronavirus
Six Nigerian governors have contracted the novel coronavirus, but some have recovered.
On Saturday, July 4, Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19. This makes him the 6th Governor to have tested positive for the virus that has infected over 11 million and killed no less than 532,000 people globally.
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El- Rufai was the first governor confirmed to have been infected and recovered in April.
Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, was also infected in March and was reported to have recovered on the 9th of April.
Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, announced that he tested positive on 30th, March, 2020 and his recovery was reported on the 5th of April.
Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, tested positive last week on June 30th and Delta’s Ifeanyi Okowa announced that he and his wife had tested positive on July 1.
So far, the governors who have tested positive for COVID-19 are:
1. Nasir el-Rufai
2. Bala Mohammed
3. Seyi Makinde
4. Rotimi Akeredolu
5. Ifeanyi Okowa
6. David Umahi
Earlier this weekend, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom announced that his wife, Mrs. Eunice Ortom, their son, and some of the wife’s aides had tested positive for COVID-19.
With Nigeria and the rest of the world still battling to contain the dreaded virus, the total number of confirmed cases has risen to 28,167 from 148,188 tests carried out as at Saturday, July 4, 2020. In addition, while 11,462 have recovered, 634 persons have died.
BUA cement to build power and cement plants in Adamawa state
BUA Cement’s newest plant in Sokoto is expected to be operational in 2021.
BUA Cement has announced plans to build a 50 megawatts power plant and 3 million metric tonnes cement plant in Lamurde and Guyuk local governments in Adamawa States.
BUA Cement which is Nigeria’s second-largest cement producer by volume with plants in Sokoto and Edo States, with the projects wants the boost the country’s power supply and increase the local production capacity for cement.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of BUA Cement, Abdul Samad Rabiu, in a press statement on Sunday, July 5, 2020, in Lagos.
The BUA Cement Chairman who led the company’s management team on a courtesy visit to the Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, after preliminary findings showed that Guyuk and Lamurde areas had quality limestone.
According to Rabiu, “Preliminary findings show that the two local governments of Guyuk and Lamurde are reputed to have good quality limestone deposits and BUA Cement is ready to begin the investment in the state.
“BUA will use new technologies to supply power to the proposed cement plant and communities of Guyuk and Lamurde in addition to providing three thousand direct and five thousand indirect jobs.
“Guyuk Cement Plant will be a major investment in the North-East by BUA, while we solicit the support of Gov. Umaru Fintiri to set up the factory in Guyuk.”
He added that while the company has invested billions of dollars in various sectors across Nigeria, it has taken a decision to source its raw materials locally and therefore urged the Adamawa state government to support BUA to actualize the GUYUK Cement project.
The Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, in his response assured the Chairman and management team of BUA, that the state government would provide all the necessary support and make available whatever was needed to make the projects a reality.
BUA Cement’s newest plant in Sokoto is expected to be operational in 2021 and expects that its total production capacity will get to 14 million metric tonnes of cement per annum upon the completion of Guyuk Cement Plant.
BUA Cement has been having a running battle with Dangote Cement over the ownership of 3 mining sites in Obu and Okpella in Edo State. The mining sites have been subject of legal tussle between the 2 biggest cement companies in the country.
GSK, Sanofi to agree $624 million deal with UK for COVID-19 vaccine
Both GSK and Sanofi said that they are placing more priority on quality rather than speed.
British and French pharmaceutical giants, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi are close to reaching a $624 million (500 million pounds) deal with the United Kingdom (UK) government for the supply of 60 million doses of coronavirus vaccine as many countries move for possible COVID-19 treatments.
Reports suggest that the UK was considering an option to buy the vaccine should the human trials, which are due to commence in September 2020, turn out successful.
The funds would be paid in stages as the vaccine progresses, with the final payment made on delivery.
In order not to be left behind, the UK government has been engaging a wide range of companies both at home and abroad to negotiate access to vaccines. They said that the right announcements of these arrangements will be made as and when agreements with any of these companies are finalized.
The British business ministry’s spokeswoman, who confirmed that the ministry is handling Britain’s supply of potential COVID-19 vaccines, said talks were going on with different parties about access to possible vaccines but didn’t confirm if GSK/Sanofi project was one of them.
According to the ministry official, ‘’The Government’s Vaccines Task Force is actively engaging with a wide range of companies both in the UK and abroad to negotiate access to vaccines.”
“Appropriate announcements of these arrangements will be made as and when agreements with any of these companies are finalized and signed.”
Sanofi is presently working on 2 possible COVID-19 vaccines, one of which uses an adjuvant made by GSK to potentially boost its efficacy. The timeline for its clinical trials is behind the likes of Moderna Inc, the University of Oxford in collaboration with AstraZeneca Plc and an alliance of BioNTech and Pfizer Inc, whose projects all made headlines by moving to human trials as early as March.
Both GSK and Sanofi said that they are placing more priority on quality rather than speed in developing a vaccine.