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Stop Introducing More Taxes – Financial Experts To FG

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Due to the country’s shaky economy, financial experts have recommended that the federal government should refrain from imposing new taxes.

They stated this in separate interviews with the Nigerian News Agency in Lagos on Friday.

Because of the weak economy, tax specialist McAnthony Dike believes the federal government should not impose further taxes.

Instead, Dike, a former President of Nigeria’s Chartered Institute of Taxation, believes the federal government should improve the country’s legal tax collection procedures.

“The government agencies responsible for formal tax collection must be very efficient so as to boost government revenue. They should automate their operations so as to stop any form of leakage in the systems,” Dike said.

He noted that the introduction of more taxes would increase the burden on the citizens.

“The people have been paying all sorts of taxes which could be considered as invisible taxes. Invisible taxes are taxes paid for services ought to have been rendered by the government, but which are not,” he said.

Also, the Chief Executive Officer, Ogu Investment, Moses Igbrude, said that introducing more taxes would not be the best considering the present realities.

“The citizens have been contending with the tough economy triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to serious tough times, and having to introduce more taxes will worsen the people’s economic woes,” he said.

He urged the political class to cut down on the cost of governance in order to free funds for developmental purposes.

Igbrude said, “Cutting down the cost of governance is imperative so as to reallocate funds for competing demands in society. These cost-saving measures when implemented will reduce waste and enhance the unity of purpose.”

NAN reports that the Federal Government recently introduced an excise duty of N10 per liter on all non-alcoholic, carbonated, and sweetened beverages.

Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this during the public presentation of the 2022 Appropriation Bill in Abuja.

Excise duty is a form of tax imposed on locally manufactured goods. The new policy, now referred to as ‘Sugar Tax’, is contained in the Finance Act signed by the President, Muhammadu Buhari.

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BIG STORY

SUBSIDY: Hope Uzodimma Fires Back At World Bank, Says Nigeria Trusts CBN For Sound Economic Policies

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The executive governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodimma, says the country will continue to rely on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to secure the country’s economy.

Uzodimma said this on Friday while speaking with state house correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.

The World Bank had said the current petrol subsidy regime poses an “existential threat” to Nigeria, adding that the country would have to eventually get rid of the arrangement.

In response to this, the governor said the bank’s projections were perpetually inaccurate.

“Our own bank is Central Bank of Nigeria and we are going to look up to them to come up with policies that will protect and secure our economy,” he said.

Uzodimma added that “25 years ago, before 1999, the World Bank had always said Nigeria will break into pieces and today Nigeria has not been broken into a half piece”.

“This country is loved by God and our faith in God has been keeping this country,” he said.

According to him, the country has allies who are “friendly enemies”, internationally and nationally, but Nigeria continues to exist.

“There is nowhere in the world you will go and the gas stations you will see are not Shell, ExxonMobil, Texaco Overseas, all the major oil producing companies,” he said.

“It is only in Nigeria that you will hear languages like independent marketers, Okafor & Sons Filling Station and all that. What is the World Bank saying about that?

“It is only in Nigeria you talk about subsidy. What is World Bank saying about that?

“It is only in Nigeria you hear jargons like turnaround maintenance. Where else in the world do you have such language?

“A refinery is a process plant that requires just routine maintenance and cleaning, but here we spend billions of dollars to do what they call turnaround maintenance.

“If you have been to the United States, Texas in particular, where crude oil production is heavy, when you are arriving Houston airport, look at the environment; they plant vegetables, farmers live there, an environment where they produce crude oil.

“What is the cost of producing one barrel of crude oil in Houston by Shell and what is the cost of producing one barrel of crude oil by Shell in Nigeria?

“But if you are landing in Warri Airport, look at the local river, there is no fish anymore, the place is highly polluted. There’s total disregard to our environmental laws and nobody’s raising all these issues, rather what we want to occupy ourselves with is knowing a party that has Muslim-Muslim ticket and a party that has Christian-Christian ticket.

“So, they are making a mockery of us and if we don’t rise up and address our challenges, nobody, I repeat, nobody, will do it for us. We have to define our country, we have to identify, collectively, our national interest so we can also collectively defend it.”

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BIG STORY

FG Ignores Protests, Says No Going Back On Tariff Hike On Calls, Data

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Despite huge criticisms from stakeholders and consumers, the Federal Government has said there is no going back on the proposed five percent tax hike on telephone calls and data.

When the hike is implemented, Nigerians will pay a 12.5 percent tax on calls and data. 7.5 percent being Value Added Tax currently being charged.

But shortly after the announcement of the new tax rate was made, Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy rejected the planned implementation, claiming he was never consulted during the conceptualization stage of the policy.

But a statement Mr. Tanko Yususa, media aide to Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, made available to THE WITNESS on Thursday, said five percent excise duty on calls and data is a revenue driver for the government.

Yunusa said the minister gave the government’s position at a stakeholders’ meeting organized by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Mrs. Ahmed, who was represented by the Assistant Director, Tax Policy, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Musa Umar, noted, “The five percent excise duty has been in the Finance Act 2020, but has never been implemented.

“Henceforth, the five percent excise duty will be collected by telecom operators and payment made to the federal government on a monthly basis, on or before 21st of every month” the minister indicated.

She insisted that there was a circular stating the planned hike which was addressed to the communication minister and other relevant ministries and agencies of government.

The circular Referenced No. F. 17417/VI/286 dated 1st March 2022, and titled “Approval for Implementation of the 2022 Fiscal Policy Measures and Tariff Amendments” was addressed to different Ministers, including the Minister, Communications and Digital Economy, and other heads of government agencies.

The circular was addressed to The Secretary to the Government of The Federation, the Attorney-General of The Federation, Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investment, Agriculture and Rural Development, Mines, and Steel and Development.

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BIG STORY

VIN: Nigerians Can’t Afford Second-hand Vehicles – Agents

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Importation of used vehicles into Nigeria has declined since the introduction of the Vehicle Identification Number, VIN, by the Nigeria Customs Service.

A member of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, Ugochukwu Nnadi, disclosed this to our correspondent in a telephone call on Tuesday, claiming that the policy had made it difficult for Nigerians to afford second-hand or used vehicles.

“Yes, there is a drop in the importation of used vehicles generally. In fact, by the time those whose vehicles were already at the ports before this VIN valuation would clear all their products at the ports, the drop might rise further.

“Some people’s vehicles are already at the ports and they don’t have any option than to manage to bring them out.”

Clearing agents have supported Nnadi’s position, explaining that the non-exclusion of ‘accident’ or ‘accidented’ vehicles on the VIN platform for the valuation of imported vehicles and hike in foreign exchange had discouraged many importers from bringing in damaged vehicles.

Report has it that most used vehicles coming into the country were mostly accidented.

The Ports & Terminal Multipurpose Limited Chapter Chairman of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, George Okafor, said that accidented vehicles were still being treated as normal vehicles, explaining that this could be the cause of the reduction in imports.

“The issue of accidented is not yet captured in the new vehicle registration, which has been the problem because ‘accident’ vehicles are still being treated as normal vehicles. As at now, there is no particular information on acciddented vehicles. What we are doing now is the vehicle registration system valuation, so there is nothing in the system for accidented vehicles for now.”

Also speaking, the TinCan Island Chapter Chairman of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, Ojo Akintoye, blamed the hike in foreign exchange as the reason for the reduction.

“The reason is not far from the hike in the foreign exchange rate. I bought a Toyota Corolla when the dollar rate was less than N500. I bought that for about $3000. Now, the same car is over $5000 with the hike in the exchange rate.  When you bring the car back to Nigeria, you will still spend money to buy spare parts and put the car in order. So, all these cost a lot of money.”

Reacting to this, the Customs Area Controller in charge of TinCan Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Adekunle Oloyode, said that the values on the imported cars were fair enough, noting that was a reduction in the importation of accidented cars.

“I saw the valuation officer recently and I was telling him that recently, I have not been seeing accident cars.  This means our values are so good that no one is bringing accidented vehicles. We only go and  remove the bonnet, do one or two things and call it an accidented vehicle.”

“There was a cry for accidented and salvaged vehicles. We input this in the system, but today nobody is coming to my office to ask for the value of accident and salvaged vehicles, which means whatever values we have given are acceptable to the stakeholders.”

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