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FIRS To Start Tax Payers’ Audit

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) would soon embark on the audit of Nigerian tax payers to boost tax revenue collection, improve service delivery to taxpayers and enhance voluntary compliance.
FIRS has also put in place a consolidated Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) data under the Joint Tax Board (JTB).
The FIRS said that all tax laws that were not in the interest of the taxpayers were already undergoing a review process.
Executive Chairman of FIRS, Mr Tunde Fowler, stated this in Lagos in keynote at a stakeholders’ meeting on: “Tax Administration and National Revenue’’.
The stakeholders’ meeting was aimed at charting the way forward in the country’s tax administration and the challenges hindering a robust tax regime.
He called on stakeholders to support efforts at repositioning the nation’s tax administration system.
Fowler, who is also the Chairman of the Joint Tax Board (JTB), said that the board was determined to improve services to taxpayers at all levels.
He added that taxpayers and stakeholders should support tax authorities in the interest of national development.
“The greatest challenge for any tax administration is achieving and maintaining a high degree of self-assessment and voluntary compliance by taxpayers.
“Studies, however, show that the extent to which an economy is able to grow sustainably and develop depends to a large extent on its ability to generate tax revenue to finance its expenditure and the efficiency of its tax system.
“The questions that arise from these simple statements include how to identify areas of non-compliance; how to measure the level of non-compliance; and how to address non-compliance,’’ Fowler said.
The tax expert explained that FIRS had put in place various strategies to curtail non-compliance to improve tax revenue collection on a sustainable basis.
“Well-designed taxpayer services, education programmes, and creative measures can facilitate self-assessment and compliance,’’ Fowler said.
He noted that the major determinant of tax compliance included changes in law, taxpayers’ attitudes to payment of right taxes and tax consultants’ offering the right advice to the taxpaying public.
While reacting to the chairman’s speech, some of the stakeholders raised concerns regarding the number of taxes and levies being collected and levied by different government agencies, which were mostly not remitted completely.

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Forex Restriction On Food Importation Requires Clarity -MAN

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The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) says clarity is needed on President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive on restriction of foreign exchange for food importation.
Director-General of MAN, Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir disclosed this last Friday in Lagos.
It would be recalled that President Buhari gave the directive when he hosted the All Progressives Congress (APC) governors at his country home in Daura, Katsina state during Eid-el-Kabir on August 13.
The president said the foreign reserve would be used strictly for diversification of the economy and not for encouraging more dependence on foreign food.
“Though the directive was laudable, clarity would be required and the country needed to be deliberate and strategic in pursuing such a far-reaching monetary measure.
“Especially in the light of our vulnerability occasioned by trade agreements that require the country to be more open to imports and the well-known antics of our neighboring countries,” Ajayi-Kadir said in a statement.
According to him, the directive is broad and needs to be specific and targeted, adding that there should be strategic implementation to achieve the purpose intended by government.
“We need to know what type of food; finished and ready to eat or as input for further processing.
“In the case of the latter (in particular) we need to know the local capacity available compared to national demand and if not adequate, creditably determine what time and resources are needed to ramp up capacity and production.
“It is pertinent to pre-determine these suggestions as part of the implementation strategy.
“To achieve sustainable self-sufficiency, local producers ought to be incentivised otherwise we may be inviting a looming barrage of smuggling activities,” he said.
He warned that the policy might be counterproductive if implemented by fiat, without ensuring necessary alignment with the fiscal and other economic policy initiatives of the present administration.
Ajayi-Kadir stressed that the necessary support that would sustain the “steady progress in agricultural production” and attainment of “full food security” should be considered.
He added that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would need to conduct an assessment of the country’s position in practical terms and realistically weigh its options before embarking on such a far-reaching policy.
“There should also be a process to be followed before such a plan is unfolded. On an issue as critical as this, a unilateral decision could be counterproductive when the operators are not duly consulted.
“We must also consider the state of our infrastructure and its capacity to respond and support the policy,” he said.
Ajayi-Kadir said MAN actively supported resource-based industrialisation, and its stance had been on improving local sourcing of raw materials and developing sustainable value chains.
He said the association believed that value addition to products created more jobs and wealth for the nation.

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Tackle Insecurity To Boost Foreign Investment, Group Tells FG

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The Committee on Youth Mobilisation and Sensitisation (CYMS) has called on the Federal Government to tackle issues of insecurity in the country in order to boost direct foreign investment.
The Director General, CYMS,Mr Obinna Nwaka, made the call when the group appeared on a Personality Interview Programme of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Forum, yesterday in Abuja.
Nwaka said foreign investors would not come to invest their money in an environment that is not secured, because of uncertainty of re-cupping their investments.
According to him, every good business person prefers a predictable and serene environment to invest their money.
He said the government must do all it could to ensure that the country was seen to be peaceful by the international community to boost the confidence of those willing to invest in the country.
Nwaka while speaking on issues affecting youths in the country, said that unemployment was critical and must also be tackled by the government.
He advised that the government should ensure that all its agencies undergoing recruitment should provide a level playing ground for all citizens, so that the people who are qualified could be given employment.
“They should not hijack it from above and they should allow the Federal Character Commission, the Senate, the Ministry of Employment, Labour and Productivity to also be part of the recruitment processes.
“With this, people who deserve to be employed will be employed, people who have the passion to serve in the military or para-military will be given opportunity to serve in the military.
“Not people who don’t have the passion but because they have a godfather in the government, after giving them the employment they stay back at home they don’t go to the war front,” he said.
He said the issue of ‘godfatherism’ should be eradicated from recruitment and every citizen should be given the same opportunity to show their capability in any job.
Nwaka said that President Muhammadu Buhari should endeavour to put someone with detail knowledge of agriculture to serve as the minister.
He said this was because agriculture seems to be the only sector for now that could ensure adequate employment for young people.
The group leader added that the young people are now willing to make themselves relevant in the agricultural sector.
“So, these fundamental issues, security, and ensuring a level playing ground in recruitment processes and agriculture are very crucial.
” If the Federal Government can look into these three key issues, I believe the level of unemployment and crimes will reduce in this country.

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Insecurity: Expect Drop In FDIs – Expert

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A university teacher, Prof. Sarah Anyanwu of the Department of Economics, University of Abuja, says with the increasing insecurity in the country, a drop in Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) is expected.
Prof. Anyanwu said this yesterday in Abuja while speaking with newsmen.
According to her, every investor wants a conducive business environment for his capital and will not want to establish businesses in places where security is not guaranteed.
“Even as a Nigerian, not to talk of foreigners, you will not go and site an industry in areas where insurgency is the order of the day.
“There is kidnapping and herdsmen killing going on at the same time and foreigners keep hearing that people are being kidnapped daily and ransom has to be paid.
“So, for those that already have investments in Nigeria, that is enough to drive them out and those that are out will not be willing to come in.
“Both the rich and poor are being kidnapped, so it is a problem to even Nigerians and not foreigners alone”, she said.
Prof. Anyanwu was also worried about the porousness of Nigerian borders, saying it is a major source of concern as foreigners who had no business being in Nigeria at all came and went at will.
Anyanwu said the nation’s borders should be strictly monitored with security tightened at all points to keep track of movement in and out to avoid people coming in anyhow to commit crime.
She, however, advised that security should be heightened with all security agencies playing their part to secure lives and properties.
The academic also said that no stone should be left unturned to promote the image of Nigeria internationally in every way and avoid situations where Nigerians in diaspora have to stage protests concerning the country.
According to Anyanwu, such scenarios send the wrong signal to prospective investors.
She also noted that electricity should be improved on as lack of it was driving the cost of doing business up.
Anyanwu also advocated good infrastructure to be provided for businesses to thrive.
A United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) had released a report in June, saying FDIs into Nigeria plunged by 43 per cent in 2018 to two billion dollars.

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