The Federal Government has charged the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to ensure it recovers all stamp duties collected on behalf of the Federal Government but yet to be remitted by governnment agencies, banks and other companies.
Reason for the renewed focus to recover unremited stamp duties is that the federal government is targeting ₦1trillion giving the potential for revenue stamp duty has.
Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr. Boss Mustapha made this declaration in Abuja on Tuesday at the inauguration of the inter-ministerial committee on Audit and Recovery of Back years stamp duties and the launch of Federal Inland Revenue Service adhesive stamp.
The SGF noted that the government will focus on revenue from stamp duty as it has the potential to yield up to N1trillion annually if properly harnessed.
Mustapha told the FIRS that the federal government expects the lnter-Ministerial Audit and Recovery Committee “to judiciously undertake an audit and recover on behalf of the Government all stamp duties charged from January 2016 to date but yet to be remitted by the relevant Ministries Departments and Agencies, Deposit Money Banks and Nigerian InterBank Settlement System Plc among others.
In order to ensure transparency and accountability, Boss Mustapha directed and requested that “all recoveries made by this Committee be remitted to appropriate Stamp Duty Account maintained by the Federal Government with the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
He also directed “all relevant MDAs particularly the Central Bank of Nigeria, NIBBs, DMBs, NIPOST and FIRS should give maximum cooperation to the Committee in the discharge of its mandate.”
He said it had become imperative to recover stamp duties because of government’s dwindling revenue “which was caused by the negative impact of the Coronavirus pandemic which has led to a budget deficit of over N5trillion.”
Responding, the Executive Chairman of the FIRS Mohammad Nami said the stamp duty recovery efforts will start from his agency and directed the finance and accounts department to remit ₦39 billion being stamp duties collected by the Service to the Committee.
He also vowed to go after MDAs that have collected stamp duties from contracts executed but failed to remit same to the account.
Nami disclosed that between January and May this year, a total of ₦66 billion stamp duty fees collected so far has been remitted into the federation account. In addition ₦18billion was generated in 2019 fiscal period.
Giving a breakdown of the ₦66billion, Nami said ₦20billion was remitted by Deposit Money Banks, while ₦39billion collected by the FIRS is warehoused in the CBN.
Nami maintained that the FIRS is prepared to reposition stamp duties as the next major revenue source for Nigeria, as revenue from oil and gas continues to dwindle due to global fall in demand and price, “indirect taxes such as Stamp Duty remain the viable and sustainable alternative revenue source for funding budgetary requirements” he said.
The remaining ₦7.9billion he said represents stamp duty revenue from stamping of various instruments.
He attributed the rise in stamp duty collection to the dynamism triggered by the Finance Act of 2019.
FCCPC: Electricity Topped Consumers’ Complaints In 2020
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) says it received the highest consumer related complaints from the electricity sector in 2020.
Speaking in Abuja on Sunday, Babatunde Irukera (pictured), chief executive officer of FCCPC, said the banking and telecommunication sectors ranked second and third respectively on the complaints chart.
He added that the aviation sector was ranked fourth.
“Our complaints resolution team is still a very small team of people and they are dealing with thousands of complaints,” Irukera said.
“We are looking at expanding capacity to have more hands handling the complaints but the real game changer in handling complaints better and faster is for companies to start doing it.
“The person who has the least open complaint in our resolution team has about 800 complaints across sectors and that is one person. If you multiply it by 12 to 15 persons, you will imagine the number of complaints.
“Being able to expand to a point where we are able to operate more efficiently, we will keep training, leveraging technology, the more we leverage technology, the more efficiently we can do our work.”
The commission was established by the 2018 Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA) to promote fair, efficient and competitive markets in the Nigerian economy, facilitate access by all citizens to safe products, and protect the rights of all consumers in Nigeria.
FEC Approves CBN’s Request To Renovate National Theatre For N21b
Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, said on Wednesday that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the ministry of information and culture for the renovation of the National Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos.
He spoke at the end the weekly FEC meeting in Abuja.
The federal government, on July 12, 2020, handed over the national theatre to CBN and the bankers’ committee to signify the kick-start of the renovation process.
“This is a landmark approval because, it has paved the way for investment in the creative industry as part of the resolve of this government to create at least one million jobs in the next three years in the creative industry,” Mohammed said.
“The CBN and banker’s committee are willing to invest N21.894 billion to renovate, refurbish and commercialization (run it profitably) of the national theatre complex. The MoU has a life span of 21 years after which it will revert back to government.”
The minister assured that no job will be lost after the national theatre is renovated, adding that the “brand new national theatre, an event centre” will instead create more jobs.
Asides from this, FEC approved about N9.43 billion to complete the digital switch over (DSO) in broadcasting; N8.98 billion for a new national ICT park in the federal capital territory (FCT) to coordinate public and private ICT hubs in Nigeria.
The council also approved a new national policy on aging which would take care of the needs of the aged people across Nigeria; approved the ministry of water resources memo to construct Damaturu water supply project in Yobe state worth N8.43 billion.
Adesina identifies Debt Service As Greatest Risk To Nigeria
The President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, has warned that debt service is Nigeria’s greatest risk, even as he urged the federal government to take steps to increase tax revenue in the face of dwindling oil income.
The Director of Communications and Liaison of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Abdullahi Ahmad, stated that he spoke virtually at the recently held First Annual National Tax Dialogue .
Dr. Adesina was quoted as saying that due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria’s economy shrank “by 3% in 2020 on account of falling oil prices and the effects of the lockdowns on economic activities,” adding, “with shrinkage in oil revenues, debt service payments pose the greatest risk to Nigeria.”
He stressed further that for Nigeria to overcome the pandemic, “taxes must form a significant percentage of government revenue. Digitalization of tax collection and tax administration is critical to ensure greater transparency of the tax system, widening of the tax base, while mitigating compliance risks and encouraging voluntary tax compliance.”
Tax experts and stakeholders at the event called for the automation of tax collection by the FIRS through data and intelligence in order to ease tax collection, as well as, improve revenue.
Executive Secretary, African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), Mr. Logan Wort, harped on the place of technology in generating revenue for the country in a post-Covid economy.
Mr. Wort, who joined the dialogue virtually from South Africa, stated, “Domestic Resource Mobilisation (DRM) is expected to contribute at least 75% to 90% on average per country” in the post-Covid era, adding that Nigeria and other African countries should note, “improved tax revenue will have to take prime position” in the scheme of things.
He urged Nigeria to pay serious attention to e-commerce and the digital economy sector where big, trans-national digital conglomerates like Google, Netflix and Uber operate and make huge, tax-free profits as a possible way of increasing tax revenue generation.
He said Nigeria should borrow a leaf from Ghana in e-commerce taxation, projected to fetch Ghana $450 million in annual tax revenue.
Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who was chairman of the Dialogue, was quoted as lauding the FIRS “for its performance in the 2020 fiscal year, despite operating in the most challenging period. The Service not only collected N4.9 trillion in taxes, achieving 98% of its target; only 30.6% of this was attributed to Petroleum Profits Tax, from what used to be over 50%”.
He urged participants to, “interrogate how Nigeria can further deepen the use of technology to improve tax compliance nationally and across sub-nationals.”