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The average business owner in Nigeria is a local government authority – Elumelu

Chairman, Heirs Holdings and Founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony Elumelu has called for far reaching Tax reforms and for the National Assembly to urgently pass the Executive Tax bill into law. 

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Tony Elumelu

Chairman, Heirs Holdings and Founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony O. Elumelu has called for far reaching Tax reforms and for the National Assembly to urgently pass the Executive Tax bill into law. 

Elumelu made this statement as he delivered the keynote address at the 21st Annual Tax Conference of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), titled, “National Development: Unlocking the Potentials of Taxation”.

Figure 1 Mr. Tony O. Elumelu CON, delivers keynote address at the 21st Annual Tax Conference of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), titled, “National Development: Unlocking the Potentials of Taxation

Speaking on the challenges that stifle small businesses, Elumelu quoted a young entrepreneur beneficiary of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, “The average business owner in Nigeria is a local government authority on his own because he caters for his own electricity with generators, he builds his own borehole, handles his own waste disposal, and the government can make his life easier by creating favourable tax policies that support SMEs.” 

Elumelu also lamented the plight of SMEs at the mercy of the tax system revealing, “The average number of taxes businesses pay in Nigeria is 48, compared to 33 in other Sub-Saharan countries. In Hong Kong, it’s just 3. Multiple taxation remains a significant burden for SMEs and corporates operating in the country.” Elumelu continued: “With a population of close to 200 million people in Nigeria, we have only 75,000 registered SMEs in the country. No one needs to tell us that people are avoiding tax or refusing to be a part of the system,” he said. 

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Figure 2 Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Dr. Mahmud Isa-Dutse; President, Chartered Institute of Taxation in Nigeria, Dr. Ikemefuna Nwobodo; Executive Chairman, Federal Internal Revenue Service, Babatunde Fowler; Keynote Speaker and Founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr. Tony O. Elumelu CON; and Chairman, Lagos Internal Revenue Services, Ayo Subair.

With high cost of compliance, complex and costly business registration processes, many SMEs are choosing to remain informal, which in turn results in a low tax base and low tax contribution to GDP. “Nigeria’s tax to GDP ratio is only circa 6%, compared to far smaller populations like Rwanda at 16%. Imagine the economic transformation we can achieve as a country if we can move our Tax to GDP ratio by 10%. We will raise an additional $40billion in government revenue – identical to the sum of our foreign reserves,” Elumelu explained.

But it won’t be easy. Elumelu advised government to educate, inform and raise tax awareness, “Government should drive mass mobilisation of citizens – let citizens know why they need to pay taxes and give them the assurance that their tax will be properly utilised.” In addition he stated that, “government should employ the use of smart tax incentives to attract and incentivise local and foreign investors.”

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Elumelu also tasked the country’s ambassadors and embassies with a two year timeline to increase the number of double tax treaties between host countries and Nigeria.  “Nigeria has 14 taxation treaties while a country like South Africa has 79 double taxation treaties, and we are the largest economy in Africa. Our embassies should adopt a target in the next two years to sign Tax treaties with our  top 100 trading partners in the world.”

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Speaking as the leading proponent of entrepreneurship in Africa and an advocate for entrepreneurs, Elumelu charged government to put in place tax systems to encourage SMEs-— the engine for job creation in the economy.

“Until there is a reduction in what SMEs pay as tax, elimination of multiple taxation, abolition of minimum income tax and excess dividend tax, it will be difficult for us to expand the tax base. It will be difficult for us to attract investors into this country, and it will be difficult for us to retain the ones already in the country. It will be difficult for us to mobilise our SMEs to help create employment that we need so much in this country. It will be difficult for us to have the citizens hold leaders accountable.”

In conclusion, he reminded the National Assembly members of their mandate in office, “We must encourage government to pass the Executive Bill immediately. Let’s get the National Assembly to fulfil their obligation to society and pass the bill immediately, so we can start making progress”.

Speaking in response to the presentation, Former President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation in Nigeria, Chief Mark Anthony Dike emphasized the urgency for the Executive Tax bill to be passed into law.

He said: “Every year during the military regime, there was a Finance Miscellaneous Provision Decree aimed at looking at what has happened and review the areas that need to be amended. As they say, the taste of the pudding is in the eating. We may conceptualise, but in order to know the efficacy of a theory, we have to test it. Until the provision of the Executive order is tested, we cannot know how efficacious it will be.”

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Also present at the event were Dr. Ikemefuna Nwobodo, President, Chartered Institute of Taxation in Nigeria, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Dr. Mahmud Isa-Dutse, Babatunde Fowler, Executive Chairman, Federal Internal Revenue Service, Ayo Subair, Chairman, Lagos Internal Revenue Services, Members of the council of CITN and the Auditor General of the Federation, Mr. Anthony Ayine.

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Coronavirus

COVID-19: FG to disburse N10 billion for local vaccine production

The Minister of Health has disclosed that Nigeria is exploring options for the licensed production of COVID-19 vaccine.

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The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Finance, has announced the sum of N10billion for the production of vaccines in Nigeria, to fight the coronavirus.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, at the daily Covid-19 briefing by the Presidential Task Force on Monday in Abuja.

  • “The Ministry of Finance has released N10billion to support domestic vaccine production. While we are working to develop our own vaccines, Nigeria is exploring options for licensed production, in collaboration with recognised institutions. We are also exploring the option of local production of the vaccines in the country.”

He also warned Nigerians to ignore news about vaccines being for sale in Nigeria, as the procedures to acquire vaccines have to pass through due process.

  • I advise all citizens to disregard these claims, as they are criminal. There are procedures for vaccine acquisition and use, which include appropriate regulations and certification by National Agency for Food and Drug and Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
  • “I advise against fake vaccines, as there is no one approved for use in the country. The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) is the only authorised vaccine administrator in Nigeria.”

He also stated that as Nigeria is experiencing the second wave, the FG needs to change its response procedures through infection mitigations and vaccines.

  • “There is no doubting the fact that we are deeply into the second wave of the pandemic which requires that PTF and FMoH review our strategies to respond to the challenge. The Federal Ministry of Health has outlined three approaches to confront the pandemic – Infection mitigation, Therapeutics and Vaccines.”

What you should know 

  • Nairametrics reported in November 2020, that the Health Minister announced Nigeria’s plans to set up a vaccine production company in Nigeria to boost local COVID-19 vaccine production.

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 18th of January 2021, 1,617 new confirmed cases and 14 deaths were recorded in Nigeria

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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 112,004 confirmed cases.

On the 18th of January 2021, 1,617 new confirmed cases and 14 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.

To date, 112,004 cases have been confirmed, 89,939 cases have been discharged and 1,449 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 1.17 million tests have been carried out as of January 17th, 2021 compared to 1.15 million tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 18th January 2021,

  • Total Number of Cases – 112,004
  • Total Number Discharged – 89,939
  • Total Deaths – 1,449
  • Total Tests Carried out – 1,172,234

According to the NCDC, the 1,617 new cases were reported from 18 states- Lagos (776), Kaduna (147) Kwara (131), FCT (102), Plateau (78), Edo (59), Ogun (53), Osun (45), Rivers (37), Taraba (36), Nasarawa (34), Adamawa (33), Kano (26), Delta (20), Ebonyi (16), Bayelsa (11), Gombe(11) and Borno (2).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 41,400, followed by Abuja (14,700), Plateau (6,831), Kaduna (6,325),  Oyo (4,695), Rivers (4,429), Edo (3,320), Ogun (2,912), Kano (2,617), Delta (2,122), Ondo (2,070), Katsina (1,723), Kwara (1,697), Enugu (1,583), Gombe (1,500), Nasarawa (1,335), Ebonyi (1,275), Osun (1,260),  Abia (1,134), and Bauchi (1,107).

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Borno State has recorded 867 cases, Imo (857), Sokoto (677), Akwa Ibom (667), Benue (657), Bayelsa (619), Adamawa (573), Niger (547), Anambra (515), Ekiti (473), Jigawa (425), Taraba (294), Kebbi (251), Yobe (211), Cross River (169),  Zamfara (162), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

The movement restriction, which was extended by another two weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

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On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.

On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State announced the closed down of the Eti-Osa Isolation Centre, with effect from Friday, 31st July 2020. He also mentioned that the Agidingbi Isolation Centre would also be closed and the patients relocated to a large capacity centre.

Due to the increased number of covid-19 cases in Nigeria, the Nigerian government ordered the reopening of Isolation and treatment centres in the country on Thursday, 10th December 2020.

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READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

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US Capitol complex temporarily shut down

The US Capitol complex was shut down temporarily on Monday as a precautionary measure after a small fire broke out nearby.

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The US Capitol complex was shut down temporarily for about an hour on Monday as a precautionary measure after a small fire broke out nearby, highlighting the security concerns that are being raised days before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

The security concerns and the lockdown follows the January 6 attack on the US Capital by supporters of the outgoing US President, Donald Trump, after his encouragement and inciting comments, calling the Presidential election a fraud without any proof of evidence.

READ: President Trump says he won’t attend Joe Biden’s inauguration

Some of them even called for the death of the US Vice President, Mike Pence for presiding over the certification of Joe Biden’s November election victory.

While making the disclosure in a statement, the Capitol Police said that the lockdown has been lifted and the nearby fire contained.

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The Acting Chief of the Capitol Police had said that the complex which comprises of the Capitol, its grounds and several buildings were shut down as a precautionary measure.

READ: US Supreme court dismisses Texas bid to overturn presidential election results

The US Secret Service in a tweet post on its official Twitter handle said, “Out of an abundance of caution the U.S. Capitol complex was temporarily shutdown. There is no threat to the public.’’

The city’s fire department in its tweet post said that firefighters put out a fire outside near the Capitol complex.

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The fire department said, “There were no injuries. This accounts for smoke that many have seen.”

READ: Huawei accuses the United States of hacking

What you should know

  • President-elect, Joe Biden is expected to be sworn in at the US Capitol on Wednesday amid an unprecedented cordon of security, with strict physical distancing measures in place due to threats of violent attacks in Washington and the rising cases of coronavirus infections.
  • Donald Trump, who is just fresh from a historic second impeachment from the congress had said he would not attend, although his deputy, Vice President Mike Pence, had given an indication that he would attend.

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