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FIRS charges VAT on betting and lottery games, as stakeholders protest

Industry stakeholders have kicked against Federal Inland Revenue Service’s plans to automate Value Added Tax (VAT) on betting and lottery games.

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BREAKING: FG's VAT charges on online transactions to commence, firs, Illegal Tax Deduction: FIRS to refund General Electric, Arco $2 million 

The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler, has disclosed the agency’s plans to charge Value Added Tax (VAT) on gaming activities, as well as automate VAT collection from lottery operators in Nigeria.

He disclosed this during a stakeholders’ meeting organised in conjunction with the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) and lottery and gaming operators. According to him, the automation will help lottery players and bettors to easily pay VAT on each transaction.

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“What we are trying to introduce today is aimed at improving the transparency, accountability and convenience in the payment of any taxes. We are automating tax collection across various industries in the country.” -Fowler

How VAT collection will be deployed in the gaming/lottery sector

The plan will see users of the services provided by the betting industry pay five percent VAT on every transaction made. The agency also aims to automate VAT collection in the gaming and lottery industry.

Stakeholders kick against the new plan

Gaming and lottery industry stakeholders have unanimously expressed displeasure over FIRS’ decision to charge VAT on games and lottery activities. They are also not pleased with the plan to automate the VAT charges.

According to the stakeholders, the additional 5 percent charge for VAT could discourage punters from using their services.

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Speaking on behalf of lottery and gaming operators, Akin Alabi, the Founder of Nairabet, said the intended automation is poised to kill the business.

Alabi added that the potential reduction in hoped-for winnings, especially on low-odds bets, will drive customers from regulated operators into the hands of unregulated ones. He also argued that the FIRS should have consulted operators before taking the decision to impose 5 percent VAT and automating the collection process.

Understanding VAT

A value-added tax (VAT) is a consumption tax placed on a product whenever value is added at each stage of the supply chain. The amount of VAT that a customer user pays is on the cost of the product.

Famuyiwa Damilare is a trained journalist. He holds a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication at the prestigious Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). Damilare is an innovative and transformational leader with broad-based expertise in journalism and media practice at large. He has explored his proven ability in the areas of reporting, curating and generating contents, creatively establishing social media engagements, and mobile editing of videos. It is safe to say he’s a multimedia journalist.

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Coronavirus

Sanwo-Olu gives incentives to businesses to prevent job loss

Babajide Sanwo-Olu noted that the state is Nigeria’s number one commercial centre and a massive job loss will not bode well for it’s economy

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Bond: Lagos to rAN100 billion for infrastructural development, COVID-19: Lagos asks civil servants to stay at home, No public buses between 7pm and 6am, Okada ban takes effect from May 4 – LASG, No public buses between 7pm and 6am, Okada ban takes effect from May 4 – LASG, Sanwo-Olu gives incentives to businesses to prevent job loss

Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has promised that any business that employs a large number of people will receive incentives from the state government in order to prevent massive job loss in the state.

He noted that Lagos state is Nigeria’s number one commercial center and heavy job losses will not bode well for the economy of the state, and the country.

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“We are having conversations with different sectors on the requirements they need to ensure they do not retrench their staff. What many of the companies want will affect the State’s IGR but we are willing to make the sacrifice to prevent the loss of livelihood of our citizens,” the governor stated.

The phased reopening of the economy

The governor explained in his tweet that all businesses were still required to follow the Register-to-open initiative, and put all facilities in place before they would be allowed to reopen.

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(READ MORE: COVID-19: Best and worst case scenarios for the Nigerian economy)

According to him, the state will consider companies in the construction and manufacturing sector as top priority in the first stage of the reopening, while businesses in the entertainment and hospitality sector will be considered for reopening in the second phase, as the state tries to balance economic reactivation with COVID-19 management.

“We are caught between managing hunger & sustaining an economy that is not only dependent on commercial activities in Lagos alone but also in other states.  

“We are at the stage where we have to balance public health safety & the economy that affects the wellbeing of the people” Sanwo-Olu stated. 

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He urged Lagosians to support the government in breaking the cycle of transmission, by adhering to the guidelines from the authorities.

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Around the World

Air Peace to evacuate stranded Indians from Lagos to Kerala

A list of the passengers to be attended to has already been given and the flight shall depart Lagos on May 30, 2020, to Cochin Airport, Kerala.

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Air Peace signs deal with Brazillian aerospace company , Air Peace suspends flight operations over COVID-19

The management of Air Peace Nigeria has been contacted by the Indian High Commission in Nigeria to undertake the evacuation of stranded Indian nationals to Kerala, India. This was disclosed by the airline via its Twitter handle.

The airline explained that a list of passengers that would be attended to have been released and it has started reaching out to the Indians on Saturday.

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It stated, “A list of the passengers to be attended to has already been given to us and we have commenced reaching out to them. The flight shall depart Lagos on May 30, 2020, to Cochin Airport, Kerala.”

The flight is not free anyway. According to the airline, payments are expected immediately and they are Economy is $1.300 and Business class is tag $1,700. “You are equally allowed to pay in Naira at N460/$,” it added.

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However, some Indians in Nigeria has reacted with mixed feelings to the development on Twitter. While some were ready to join the flight back home, others called for the refund of ticket fare booked a week ago.

READ ALSO: Hope rises as Emefiele set to meet MTN, 4 banks today.

For instance, Jayant Khamesra requested for the refund ticket fare of N568, 100, which he paid for a flight from Lagos to Delhi.

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He said, “Please refund ticket fare P47812 LAGOS to DELHI. No show by Air Peace and it is been 1 week now, there has been no refund or confirmation of the same. Reference ALHN79 amount N568,100. I am sure a good world-class carrier like Air Peace won’t delay refunds purposely. Please act fast.

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Coronavirus

The World’s Economy may not survive without a vaccine

Industries like tourism and travel with social distancing rules in place will only scramble for the little they can get while sports stadiums, entertainment hot-spots, etc., will remain closed.

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The World’s Economy may not survive without a vaccine

As parts of the world restart economic activities, it is becoming clear that the worst plunge in modern history would need a vaccine or cure before things can revert to normal.

In response to the exogenous shock that is the Covid-19 pandemic, leaders, researchers, analysts, and experts have sought methods, options, – anything to reduce the negative impact of what many now regard as the worst slump since the 1930s. So far, different parts of the world have put systems and structures in place to allow a level of economic activity to continue as it became increasingly clear that full social welfare was simply unsustainable. This is, however, not without the existence of relevant restrictions like temperature checks, social distancing rules, and the latest fashion accessories – masks and gloves.

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READ ALSO: Nigerian economy going into recession, might contract by -8.9% – Finance Minister

While this is an admittedly better development than the enforced total lockdown – at least for the economy, this too has its limitations. Economic activities have taken on a sluggish growth pace and while production might continue, global demand remains hamstrung. Industries like tourism and travel with social distancing rules in place will only scramble for the little they can get. Sports stadiums, entertainment hot-spots, etc., will remain closed. Even with the increased dependence of delivery services, restaurants will struggle to make what they used to before. Jobs have been cut and even more will. In essence, the partial reopening of the economy isn’t also sustainable. Yet, it is impossible to ignore the virus itself especially given the risks of a resurgence of the virus in already treated patients and the increasing cases in many parts of the world.

Data obtained from Bloomberg revealed that people infected around the world reached 5 million with a death toll of over 330,000. With the pandemic still on our tails, finding a vaccine is our best bet – and nothing else might be able to beat that. Stephen Jen, CEO of Eurizon SLJ Capital – hedge fund and advisory firm in London told Bloomberg News that there’s some sort of bounty on the virus globally.

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READ MORE: Osinbajo sets up committee on reopening of Nigerian economy, suspends loan deductions for states

In his words, “I don’t see how it is wiser for investors to bet on the virus than to bet on science, technology, and unlimited political and financial capital in the world to contain and defeat the virus.”

Also, the shares of American drug maker based in Massachusetts, Moderna Inc., hit a record high early in the week, as a result of its early data from a small trial of the company’s Covid-19 vaccine. It, however, gave up some of those gains days after stock traders scrutinized the early nature of the vaccine data.

Bloomberg Economics predicts that the restriction and shutdown of businesses triggered a plunge in economic activities of about 30% and their findings found that the first steps to relax controls will have a good impact on activity than later ones. Yet, our optimism is palpable. Anita Zaidi, Director of Vaccine Development and Surveillance at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have advised that the process of creating an effective immunity could take years, and even then it will have to solve the issue of logistics that is making the vaccine readily available globally.

Today, the world waits in hope that this too passes like many of its predecessors. While it will indeed pass, there still is no saying how long it will take before life reverts to a new but sustainable normal.

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