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FIRS Set To Implement New Tax Regime

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) would soon be implementing a Presumptive Tax Regime to get more Nigerians, especially those in the informal sector, to pay tax

Acting Executive Chairman, FIRS, Alhaji Kabir Mashi made the declaration in Abuja at a stakeholder’s sensitisation workshop.

He said that the idea of the regime was to help the informal sector to keep their books and records and to enable them to understand the tax system and how to use it to improve their business.

He said no amount had been fixed as possible tax under the regime, but noted that more money would be collected for the government in the process stressing that  “it is our belief that if we are able to implement a workable presumptive tax regime, it will create improved and easy access to tax system for the large pool of taxpayers in the informal sector.

He said this will enable us to not only grow that tax base across the three tiers of government, but more importantly, improve tax collection from non-oil tax revenue stressing that if we are able to do this successfully, we will be contributing to the overall development of the Nigerian tax system and the Nigerian economy.’’

Mashi said the FIRS had examined the experiences of other countries and tried to tailor collectable tax from the informal sector to be in consonance with Nigeria’s peculiarities.

“This is necessary because of our peculiar situation, where we have three taxing levels – the federal, the state and local government, whereas most of our tax laws are federal laws, but administered across the three tiers of government.

“In addition to this, we have a large pool of taxpayers and potential taxpayers in the informal sector in Nigeria who can contribute significantly to tax collection if they are properly assisted to comply with the laws,’’ he added.

He said that it was necessary to ensure that the compliance was attractive to encourage each taxpayer to participate and to be treated fairly.

He urged participants to seize the opportunity of their attendance at the workshop to make useful contribution to enable the FIRS to evolve the most appropriate way of administering a presumptive tax regime in Nigeria and also to harness its benefits.

FIRS Coordinating Director, Standards and Compliance Group Mr. Andy Ejemeyovwi, in his contribution, said that the initiative was critical to the development of tax system in the country.

He noted that evasion had remained an issue in Nigeria’s tax system, adding that there was the need to tackle it for the growth of the economy.

“In order to find a lasting solution to this teething problem of taxation in Nigeria, FIRS management has considered the various submissions of the Presumptive Tax Regime and approved the hosting of this sensitisation workshop in order to expose the thinking of the relevant authorities in the administration of Presumptive Tax Regime in Nigeria.

“How best can we handle the various problems limiting the smooth administration of presumptive tax in the informal sector as well as help effective traders to maintain some records of transactions generated and assist them to know whether they are running at a loss or making profit?

“This is on the way to getting them appropriately taxed.’’

He said Ejemeyovwi said that the initiative had worked very well in most West African countries and expressed the hope that it would be implemented effectively in Nigeria.

He urged tax administrators to make adequate contribution that would help to adopt best policies that would aid the smooth implementation of the regime in the country.

Also, Chairman Plateau State Board of Internal Revenue, Mrs. Rauta Jat, said that states’ tax administrators had problems with accessing the informal sector.

She said that the idea of the Presumptive Tax regime was an idea in the right direction as the states would benefit more from it.

“We are happy that the FIRS and the Joint Tax Board have decided to address this issue speedily.

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Traders Protest FG’s Move To Restore Festac Town

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The move by the Federal Government to restore Festac Town in Lagos to its original status has sparked up protest among traders occupying Agboju Amuwo Planks and Building Materials Market.
The traders on Wednesday, protested at the FHA office in Festac Town against the demolition of their market, following the demolition of illegal structures by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) ahead of the restoration. 
The Tide recalls that there was a petition to the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, in 2020 about illegal structures that had taken over Festac Town.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on the restoration of Festac town organised by FHA, last year, its South-West Zonal Manager, Mr Akintola Olagbemiro, said, “This year, we commenced the restoration of Festac town, following the consent judgement from the court against illegal occupants of Festac land.
“Our action is to save the residents from the insecurity that has taken over the entire Festac town as a result of illegal structures everywhere”.
The chairman of allottees of First Gate to Third Gate, Mr Kole Olatunji, in his remarks at the meeting said the land from First Gate to Third Gate was allocated between 1985 and 1999, noting that with the consent judgment, original owners of the land as allocated should take over their plots.
But the chairman of plank market, Muhammed Bello, protested the seven-day notice given to traders to vacate the place without alternative arrangements.  
Bello said: “How do they expect us to remove our wares in seven days?
“What we want is that they should allow us to remain there and we will pay whatever amount they ask us to pay”.
Speaking in the same vein, the chairman of Cane Chair and Furniture Association, Emmanuel Okoye said: “We need freedom. Let them tell us where they want us to stay. That place was swampy. We filled the place with several millions of Naira which we got as loans.
“We also rely on loans to do our business. Whatever the government wants us to pay; we are ready to pay to remain there. We have been there for 27 years. What we lost to the demolition is over N300 million”.

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Fuel Tanker Explosion Kills Five, Injures Two In Ogun

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No fewer than five persons were on Wednesday burnt to death, while two others sustained first degree of injury in a fuel tanker explosion at Ajilete, along Owode-Idiroko road, in Yewa South local government area of Ogun State.
Eyewitness accounts revealed that a truck bearing 33,000 litres of petroleum product was descending the steep portion of the road when its tank suddenly detached from truck’s body and tumbled to the ground with a bang.
The explosion, the witnesses said, killed five persons on the spot, while two other persons were injured.
The Tide learnt that the seven victims were all residents of the area where the accident occurred.
Confirming the incident, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Commander, Idiroko Unit, Akinwunmi Olaluwoye, said five deaths were recorded in the accident which occurred at about 8.15 am on Wednesday. 
According to him, the remains of the dead had been claimed by their families.
He disclosed that a bus and a motorcycle were also caught in a web of the explosion and razed.
He said, “no vehicle rammed into the tanker. The tank dropped off from the back of the tanker and exploded. The number of persons involved are seven; five dead, two injured.
“The driver had taken away the head of the truck as at the time we got there. But we have allowed the police to take charge and handle that aspect”.

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Travellers To Access $4,000  As CBN Boosts Forex Supplies

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Nigerians travelling abroad can now access a maximum amount of $4,000 foreign exchange from banks following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) announcement to increase forex supplies.
The CBN had said in a recent statement that it had concluded plans to increase the amount of foreign exchange allocated to banks to meet legitimate needs.
This followed the warning by the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to Deposit Money Banks to desist from denying customers the opportunity to purchase foreign exchange.
The purposes to access forex included Personal Travel Allowance, Basic Travel Allowance, tuition fees, and medical payments as well as Small and Medium Enterprises transactions or for the repatriation of Foreign Direct Investment proceeds, the CBN had stated.
Sources from some of the banks said those travelling on business trips could also access a maximum amount of $5,000 for each trip.
At a virtual Bankers’ Committee meeting last week, the bankers discussed how the CBN intended to assist with forex to ensure availability for the upcoming summer period and the return of students to school in September.
The CBN also said the BDCs would continue to have their weekly allocations.
The committee observed that the rates were going up.
It stated, “The CBN has said that all the banks must make availability at all times and anyone who wants to buy BTA, PTA, medical fees, student school fees and all the eligible invisible purchases to ensure that Nigerians are not forced to go and queue in the parallel market.
“So what the Central Bank is doing is to encourage all banks to make sure that there is available forex at all times, and that his information should be communicated on all our platforms.
“We are asking our customers to come to the branches and for BTA, for example, present the required documents, which are basically your international passport, your visa, your valid ticket and fill up the form in the bank.
“And what we have been instructed to do is ensure that we don’t turn anybody back and that we should request from the Central Bank once we exhaust the forex that we have.
“The idea is to have a hitch-free summer period and the resumption for children to go back to school. The idea is to ensure there is less pressure on the forex and then the rates will come down”.
Speaking during the virtual meeting, the Group Managing Director, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, said, “I think again as part of the Central Bank’s role in terms of price stability and the need to support small and medium enterprises, there was highlight of the need for banks to go and support SMEs who import small raw materials for them to set up their businesses”.
The Managing Director, Ecobank, Patrick Akinwuntan, said, “All banks are available to ensure forex need is met.”
Managing Director, Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, said the CBN had provided sufficient foreign exchange to meet the needs of all legitimate Nigerian travellers and therefore, the idea of going to any other market should not arise at all.

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