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Business

Buhari directs FIRS, others to ensure strict compliance of tax payment by foreign firms

President Buhari has directed the FIRS and other related government agencies to ensure strict compliance of tax payments by foreign companies.

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NASENI, Public holidays, President Buhari to scrap NNPC, PPPRA as he submits new PIB to National Assembly, Buhari says there is no provision for fuel subsidy in revised 2020 budget, President Muhammadu Buhari to address Nigerians on Monday, receives update and recommendations from PTF, President Buhari earmarks N420 billion for N-Power, GEEP and others under NSIP in 2021, Buhari approves the appointment of Dr Orji as the new boss of NEITI

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and other related government agencies to ensure strict compliance of tax payments by foreign companies operating in Nigeria by plugging all revenue leakages.

This is as the president has ordered all government agencies to automate their operations and ensure more synergy in advancing the interest of the country in revenue generation.

According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this directive was given by the president at the virtual First National Tax Dialogue held at the Conference Hall of the State House, Abuja, where he also stressed the need for deployment of more digital platforms and seamless connections.

What President Buhari is saying

President Buhari in his statement said, “It is not enough that our citizens and local businesses pay their fair share of taxes. Equally, foreign businesses must also not be allowed to continue to exploit our markets and economy without paying appropriate taxes.

” Accordingly, the FIRS has my mandate to speedily put all measures in place to fully implement programmes to stamp out Base Erosion and Profit Shifting in all their ramifications and generally automate its tax processes.

“In line with this, I have directed all government agencies and business enterprises to grant FIRS access to their systems for seamless connection.

”FIRS must ensure that its deployment of technology for automation is done in line with international best practices.  In particular, FIRS can borrow a leaf from other countries which have successfully automated their tax processes,’’ Buhari said.

President Buhari said that Nigeria will continue to work with the Inclusive Framework (on equal footing) to develop internationally acceptable rules for taxation of the digital economy, which he is optimistic would have evolved into an acceptable multilateral solution that will comprehensively address the tax challenges of the digitalised economy by the middle of 2021.

He said his administration was strategically restructuring the tax revenue mix in favour of indirect taxes in accordance with the national tax policy document.

The president said, ”To this end, FIRS is mandated to do all that is required in order to efficiently collect tax revenue due from transactions carried out using local and foreign online platforms. The government has made relevant statutory amendment to tax laws in the Finance Act 2020.’’

”The administration is, however, not seeking to increase the tax burden upon the citizens but to plug the existing tax loopholes or leakages and to ensure even and equitable application of the tax laws.”

”This was clearly demonstrated by the provisions in the Finance Act 2019, whereby government exempted small companies from tax and reduced the income tax rate for medium companies from 30% to 20%.

”In the Finance Act 2020, which I signed into law at the tail end of 2020, we went further to cushion the burden of tax on the low-wage workers by exempting minimum wage from personal income tax,” he added.

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What you should know

  • It can be recalled that in the new Finance Act 2020 which was signed into law by President Buhari and took effect from January 1, 2021, necessary amendments were made to the FIRS Establishment Act to provide the legislative framework for the adoption of technology in tax administration.
  • The Federal Government has devised several strategies and policies to boost tax collections in the face of dwindling revenue due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The new Finance Act also includes provision for the exemption of low-income earners on N30,000 and below per month from income tax payment.

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Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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Business

Lagos, Chinese firm to rollout 1,000 SUVs as taxis, to complete auto assembly plant in 12 months

Lagos State Government has signed an agreement with a Chinese firm to roll-out 1,000 SUVs as taxis for Lagos residents.

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Lagos State Government has signed an agreement with a Chinese firm, Choice International Group (CIG) Motors Co. Ltd. on Thursday for the roll-out of 1,000 Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) as taxis for Lagos residents.

The signing and flag-off ceremony which was held at the Lagos House, Marina also included the signing of an agreement for the establishment of a Motor Assembly Plant in Lagos State, with the Governor saying that the roll-out of vehicles from the plant is expected within the next 12 to 18 months.

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said that the Lagos State Taxi Scheme was another innovative policy of his administration targeted at making life easier for Lagosians, improving mobility and creating a seamless multi-modal transport system.

Sanwo-Olu said that the scheme would create jobs, accelerate socio-economic growth, and further put the state on the global map as the centre of excellence and a modern megacity committed to sustainable development.

What Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is saying

Sanwo-Olu pointed out that the task of bequeathing a safe, efficient, quick, and modern public transport system is a key thrust of the administration’s T.H.E.M.E.S. Agenda.

He said, ”We are guided by the need for an equitable transport system with mobility choices for our people. The Taxi Scheme, to be known as ”Lagos Ride”, which is being inaugurated today is in fulfilment of our desire to give Lagosians transport choices.

”It is one of the Lagos State Government’s socio-economic intervention programmes- a modern ride-hailing service that will be professionally managed in line with global best practices. Under the Lagos State Taxi Service, drivers/operators will be given the cars for a period of four years during which they pay a monthly instalment and they will have the opportunity of owning the cars after they have fully paid the hire amount.

”The Lagos State Taxi Service is structured along a profitability model, it is self-sustaining and able to expand and regenerate itself,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu said that the establishment of the Motor Assembly Plant was expected to revive industrialisation, increase citizens’ employment and wealth creation, boost tourism, and encourage technology sharing, adaptation, and advancement.

He said, ”As we inaugurate the taxis and sign the Joint Venture Agreement for the establishment of the Motor Assembly Plant, Lagosians should expect a roll-out of vehicles from this plant within the next 12 to 18 months.

”I urge the beneficiaries of the Lagos State Taxi Service to collaborate with us to sustain the scheme.We have the political and administrative will to ensure the Taxi Scheme survives.

”I am hopeful that the operators will cooperate with the Lagos State Government to render excellent service to the people,” he said.

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The Group Chairman, CIG Motors, Diana Chen, said that they hope to celebrate this exciting moment again when 1,000 units of branded SUVs with high-tech technology arrive and run across Lagos streets and roads, with 1,000 well-trained drivers carrying happy customers that live and work in Lagos.

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What this means

  • This collaboration by the Lagos State Government with the Chinese auto firm is one of the ways of the government to get private sector participation in a modern transport system within the metropolis’
  • The establishment of the Assembly Plant and the Lagos Taxi Scheme were among the benefits of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s official trip to China.
  • This is a welcome development as it will help to change the face of public transportation in the state.

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Business

FG announces extension of work-from-home directive for GL 12 officers, below

FG has extended the work-from-home directive for civil servants from GL 12 and below until the end of March.

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Nigeria gradually moves to total lockdown as FG asks public servants to work from home

The Federal Government has announced the extension of the work-from-home directive for civil servants from GL 12 and below until the end of March.

This is seen as part of the measure by the government to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic which had surged earlier this year, due to the second wave of the outbreak across the country and the discovery of a new variant of the disease.

This announcement was made in a statement by the Head of Service of the Federation (HOSF), Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, and signed by the Director of Press and Public Relations, the office of HOSF, Mr Abdulganiyu Aminu, on Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Abuja.

READ: FG sets committee to support tech start-ups with affordable internet access amid lockdown

The statement partly reads, “All public servants on GL12 and below have been directed to continue working from home till the end of March 2021.

Yemi-Esan said the latest directive was in adherence to the advice of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19.

The Head of Service of the Federation harped on the need to maintain the downward trend of the Covid-19 infection in the country and as such the reason for the extension of work from home directive.

While also emphasising the need for all public servants to continue to ensure strict compliance with the existing guidelines on the prevention and spread of the pandemic, she enjoined all Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executive officers to bring the content of the circular to all concerned and ensure strict compliance.

READ: Landlords offer incentives to counter “work from home” induced vacancy rates

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that the Federal Government in January 2021, announced the extension of work from home directive for civil servants on Grade Level 12 and below until February 28, 2021.
  • The directive was as a result of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic which had seen a spike in infection rates across the country.

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