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Nigeria Lost N5.4trn From Tax Evasion By Multinational- FIRS

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has revealed that Nigeria lost about N5.4 trillion between 2007 and 2017 through tax evasion by multinational companies operating in Nigeria.
Executive Chairman of the Service, Mr Muhammad Naru, disclosed this in a statement issued and signed by Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad, Director, Communications and Liaison Department of the FIRS on Monday after a “Workshop on Effective Audit of multinational corporations for Domestic Revenue Mobilisation in Nigeria,” organized by the Service in junction with the Tax Justice Network.
Executive Chairman of the Service, Mr. Muhammad Nami stated that “between 2007 and 2017” Nigeria was reported to have lost over US$178 billion (about N5.4 trillion at today’s rate) through tax evasion by Multinationals” doing business in the country.
He cited a 2014 report by the High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, which stated that “Nigeria accounted for 30.5% of money lost by the continent through illicit financial flows.”
To check this revenue loss, the FIRS Boss said the service had created 35 additional Tax Audit Units in the country to stem illicit financial flow out of Nigeria and improve tax compliance rate.
Observing that some multinational corporations were “leading in tax compliance in various sectors” he was however worried that “many rich Multinational Corporations do not pay the right taxes due from them, let alone pay their taxes voluntarily.”
He charged participants at the workshop to come up with “a novel methodology that would be used to uncover illicit financial flows” and “provide an overview of related policy options for enhancing tax revenue collection in general.”
According to Nami, “at the FIRS, we are paying greater attention to tax audit in general and Transfer Pricing audit in particular in order to improve the level of tax compliance in the country”
He added that, “as a result, in the last one year, we have created more than 35 additional Tax Audit Units and deployed experienced and capable staff to take charge of these offices.
He further stated that with the signing of the 2021 budget of ¦ 13.588 trillion and given the recent decline of oil fortunes, “which had been the major revenue earner for the country, taxation is expected to continue to shoulder the government’s budget performance the way it did in 2020.”

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More Youths Engage In Artisanal Refining

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As unemployment bites harder amidst rising cost of living, more youths in rural communities in Rivers State are now going into artisanal refining business to earn a living.
The Tide reliably gathered that some youths residing in Port Harcourt City were gradually moving to rural communities for bunkering business otherwise known as ‘kpo-fire’ 
Narrating his experience to The Tide, Mr Godwin Ibeneme who resides in Rumuekini in Akpor, said he was introduced into the kpor-fire business by his father.
Ibeneme, who hails from Ibaa/ Obelle area of Emohua Local Government Area, said his father compelled him to join other youths who were thriving in the business in the community.
“My father came to my house here in Rumuekini, and told me to come to the village, that other young men are making it through kpo-fire’ bunkering since I have lost my job.
“ I didn’t waste time to give it a trial, because I had really looked for what to do, since I lost my job at a fast-food company. Since then, I can tell you that I have been taking care of myself, unlike before when everything looked hopeless”, he explained.
The Tide also learnt that the kpo-fire’ business was currently thriving in Isiokpo axis of Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
A resident of the community who pleaded anonymity, told The Tide that there was a high level of discrimination in the business.
According to him, he decided to engage himself at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, to hustle for his daily bread, instead of staying idle.
The Tide recalls that the Federal Government had promised to build modular refineries in the Niger Delta region since 2019 as an alternative to illegal oil bunkering in the region as well as to create employment for the youth. 
The Tide also reports that three years after the promise was made, nothing has been done in that regard.

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Oyigbo Cassava Plant, Legacy Project   -Akawor

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The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Amb. Desmond Akawor, says the cassava plant project, being executed by the Rivers State Government in Oyigbo is a legacy project that will generate huge employment for Rivers people.
He said the project was well thought out and would stand the test of time to tackle unemployment as well as ensure food availability in the state.
Akawor made the remarks during an interaction with journalists at the weekend in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the cassava plant which was supposed to be executed by the previous administrations, was initially planned to be a joint venture between the state government and some organisations, but that the other partners did not pay their counterpart funding.
“The steps taken by the Wike-led administration to bring this project to life without the counterpart funding is commendable, because of the huge economic benefits it will give to the state.
“Many people have also been employed at the construction sites of flyovers being executed by Julius Berger. Eighty percent of those working there are indigenes, while the company provides the expatriates”, he said.
The  PDP chairman also hinted on the plans of the state government to privatise the Buguma fish farm and banana farm, among others, so as to make them more viable.
He said that the state government had not abandoned the projects initiated by the previous administration, but was thinking on what to do with them. 
Akawor maintained that the employment of 5,000 persons into the civil service was still ongoing, saying the government is only taking time to ensure that indigenes of the state are employed.

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PH Airport Resumes Skeletal International Flight Operations

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Skeletal flight operations have resumed at the international wing of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
This follows the lifting of the curfew that was imposed in the state by the Rivers State Government to check cases of insecurity in the state.
The Tide’s checks show that many of the airlines that operate international flights are yet to resume flight operations, even though the coast is clear for them to resume operations.
The Cronaux Airline, it was gathered, is the only airline at the moment that has fully resumed international flight.
Other airlines that operate at the international wing, like the Lufthansa Airline, Turkish Airline, and Ethiopian Airline are yet to resume operations. 
The Acting Head of Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Kunle Akinbode, confirmed the resumption of international flight operations at the airport, last Friday, saying the international wing is now open for international airlines to operate.
He explained that the curfew that was imposed in the state delayed the resumption of international flights operations, even when issues of Covid-19 standard protocols had been addressed.
“Now that the curfew is over and the international wing is open for flight operations, it is left for each of the airlines to work out its own schedule for operations.
“It will not be the duty of the airport management to sort things out for them and know when to resume. I know that some have started. Lufthansa has said they will resume next month, August”, Akinbode said.
The Tide reports that the international wing of the Port Harcourt Airport had been shut since the Covid-19 lockdown, and did not reopen when other international airports in Lagos, Abuja and Kano among others reopened for international operations.

Stories by Corlins Walter

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