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ECONOMY

FG: We’ll name, shame tax evaders from April 1

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The federal government through the ministry of finance says it will name and prosecute tax evaders in 3o days when the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) ends.
Kemi Adeosun, minister of finance, said this while speaking at the VAIDS Stakeholders symposium which held at the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre, Murtala Square, in Kaduna on Thursday.
She said the federal government would adhere strictly to the confidentiality of the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters, in line with the guidelines of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
“The federal government has the political will and data to go after tax evaders who fail to take advantage of the tax amnesty programme,” she said.
“Many Nigerians cannot explain their lifestyles or match their lifestyles, assets and income with their tax payment.
“We will close VAIDS at the expiration of the programme on March 31, 2018. And once the programme is closed, we will name and shame and also prosecute tax evaders.”
VAIDS, according to her, has been strengthened by the data on financial accounts, property and trusts shared by other countries.
“The offshore tax shelter system is basically over. Those who have hidden money overseas are being exposed and whilst Nigerians can legally keep their money anywhere in the world, they must first pay any taxes due to the Nigerian government so that we can fund the needs of the masses and create jobs and wealth for our people.”
She advised offshore asset owners to utilise the VAIDS window to regularise their taxes before the end of the amnesty programme.

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ECONOMY

NNPC: Funding plan for AKK gas pipeline project near conclusion

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says funding plans for the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline project are almost complete.

Maikanti Baru, NNPC group managing director, made the disclosure at the 30th edition of Gas Technology Conference in Barcelona, Spain on Tuesday.

The AKK gas pipeline is designed to enable gas connectivity between the east, west and north, which is currently inadequate.

It would also enable gas supply and utilisation to key commercial centres in the Northern corridor of Nigeria with the attendant positive spin-off on power generation and industrial growth.

Represented by Saidu Mohammed, NNPC chief operating officer, gas & power, Baru said tremendous progress had been made towards securing funding for the project during President Muhammadu Buhari’s last visit to Beijing, China.

According to a statement by Ndu Ughamadu, NNPC spokesperson, Baru said there is a viable payback structure for the facility, noting that the financial partners are willing to cooperate with the state oil firm.

“Once you have the whole nation covered with a gas grid, industries will naturally spring up along the way and litter the entire country. That is our target in the long run,” the statement quoted Baru as saying.

Speaking on the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Train 7 project, Baru said the nation’s abundant gas reserves portend positive developments in the sector.

“We cannot consume out our gas resources in the next 50 years, even if we generate as high as 40,000mw for power,” he said.

“We are happy that in the NLNG is a credible company capable of competing in the international arena.”

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ECONOMY

BREAKING: Nigeria’s inflation rises for the first time after 18-month decline

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Nigeria’s inflation has risen for the first since it started its decline in January 2017.

This is according to the latest inflation report published by the National Bureau of Statistics on Friday.

According to the report, the rate at which prices of goods and services increased in August rose to 11.23% from 11.14%.

“The consumer price index, (CPI) which measures inflation increased by 11.23 percent (year-on-year) in August 2018. This is 0.09 percent points higher than the rate recorded in July 2018 (11.14) percent and represents the first year on year rise in headline inflation following eighteenth consecutive disinflation in headline inflation,” the report read.

“Increases were recorded in all COICOP divisions that yielded the Headline index. On month-on-month basis, the Headline index increased by 1.05 percent in August 2018, down by 0.08 percent points from the rate recorded in July 2018 (1.13) percent).”

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ECONOMY

Nigeria, other West African countries fail to meet criteria for single currency

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Nigeria and five other West African countries have been unable to meet the criteria for the proposed single currency for countries in the zone.

Ngozi Egbuna, West African Monetary Institute (WAMI) director general made this known on Thursday in Abuja at the 37th meeting of the Committee of Governors of the Central Banks of the West African Monetary Zone.

The West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) consists of The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had approved the reduction of the convergence criteria from 11 to six.

At present, the three primary criteria are a budget deficit of not more than three per cent; average annual inflation of less than 10 per cent with a long-term goal of not more than five per cent by 2019; and gross reserves that could finance at least three months of imports.

The three secondary criteria are public debt/gross domestic product of not more than 70 percent; central bank financing of budget deficit should not be more than 10 percent of previous year’s tax revenue; and nominal exchange rate variation of plus or minus 10 percent.

Egbuna said a lot of work needs to be done if the 2020 deadline will be met.

She said three countries, The Gambia, Guinea and Nigeria, attained three criteria; while Ghana and Liberia achieved two criteria, and Sierra Leone met one criterion.

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, was elected chairman of WAMZ at the meeting.

Addressing delegates, Emefiele said member countries should not be blinded by the desire of a common currency to the adverse factors associated with a unified monetary environment.

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