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FIRS targets N5 trillion VAT revenue amid EU concerns over tax evasion in Nigeria

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FIRS targets N5 trillion VAT revenue amid EU concerns over tax evasion in Nigeria

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has laid out an ambitious road map, projecting a leap in revenue collection from Value Added Tax (VAT) to five trillion naira shortly.

The goal was set against the backdrop of concerns raised by the European Union about the prevalent issue of tax evasion in Nigeria, which they attribute to the opacity of the tax administration process.

Matthew Osanekwu, Head of the Policy and Legislation Division at FIRS, expressed confidence during a press conference in Abuja on Thursday: “I can assure you that VAT will surge from the current N3.6 trillion to five trillion naira as we move forward.”

This optimistic projection stems from comprehensive reviews and sweeping reforms within the country’s tax framework.

The announcement coincided with the celebration of the successes of the Support Programme for Tax Transition in West Africa (PATF), an initiative funded by the European Union designed to fortify domestic tax administration and foster improved cooperation within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) regions.

Despite possessing one of the West African region’s lowest VAT rates, Nigeria has demonstrated a consistent enhancement in its tax collection efforts.

Highlighting this progress, Osanekwu mentioned that Nigeria’s VAT collection has progressively climbed from N1.1 trillion in 2019 to N3.6 trillion in 2023.

He alluded to ongoing discussions about revisiting the current VAT rate, which was raised from an initial five per cent to 7.5 per cent, contributing to the uptick in revenue.

“Discussions are in progress with the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms, as well as the Ministry of Finance, regarding the necessity of revising the VAT rate to be in line with ECOWAS standards,” Osanekwu elaborated.

He also pointed out that FIRS has broadened its tax collection ambit to encompass non-resident suppliers and is rigorously examining the tax exemptions extended to certain enterprises.

“We are in the final stages of reviewing our exemptions, and we anticipate presenting these recommendations to the tax reform committee for consideration of legislative changes,” he clarified.

In addition, Osanekwu revealed that the FIRS is performing a VAT gap analysis to pinpoint and rectify areas where VAT collection could be improved.

“By examining our tax policy, law, and collection procedures, we aim to identify our VAT gap and, through this informed approach, reach our five trillion naira target,” he assured.

Massimo De Luca, Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria, commended the accomplishments of the PATF initiative and called on the Nigerian government to increase transparency in the management of tax revenues.

De Luca observed, “Tax evasion often occurs when taxpayers do not see the benefits their contributions yield. In Europe, high levels of tax compliance are partly due to the quality of public services rendered and the clear accountability for the use of tax funds.”

Dalhat Kamal, Deputy Director of Tax Policy at the Federal Ministry of Finance, warned that a simple increase in the VAT rate might not directly translate to higher VAT revenue.

“A tax system must be accessible to draw more individuals into the tax base,” Kamal stated. “The efficacy of VAT collection depends not only on the rate but also on its prudent administration. Without meticulous management, we cannot fulfil the objectives of establishing the rate.”

Kamal further underscored the need to review the handling of tax expenditures to ensure that the nation’s fiscal strategies are meeting their intended targets.

Andrew Onyeanakwe, a tax specialist and member of the PATF steering committee, shed light on the program’s contributions.

“The PATF has been instrumental in creating regional tax management tools and standardizing the approach to evaluating tax expenditures among ECOWAS Member States. It has also set up a system for the monitoring and assessment of ECOWAS’s fiscal transition and harmonized VAT legislation across its member states,” he explained.

Aviation

DANA Incident :Tukur warns against stripping NCAA’s autonomy

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The Nigerian Government has suspended the operations of Dana Air. The order followed an incident involving a Dana Air plane at Lagos airport

Former Assistant General Secretary of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Alhaji Mohammed Tukur
has warned against the danger of undermining the autonomy of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA).

Alhaji Tukur in a statement described the the grounding of all the fleet of the DANA by the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace, Barrister Festus Keyamo as a usurpation of the powers of the NCAA.

“The action of the Minister is like putting our civil aviation on a reverse to the era between the late eighties and the early time of the present democratic dispensation when President Obasanjo for no just course ordered the grounding of the entire Chanchangi fleet over Bellview crash.”

He noted that the development was a dangerous signal that must be repealed so that the civil aviation authority would not be relegated to an appendage of the Ministry.

The former AON scribe further described the grounding of DANA, an airline that just scaled through the economic audit of the NCAA as unfortunate stressing that it was also happening at the wake of the authority’s successful safety audit and FAA’s category one.

“It’s ironic for Keyamo who recently complained of high insurance rates and leasing costs faced by the Nigerian operators to come up with such hammer on DANA which gives an impression that our CAA lacks independence and oversight capability”.

Alhaji Tukur further observed that there was likely an aqua plain on the runway because of the rain saying that it was necessary to have waited for the investigators to come up with the plenary report while only the aircraft involved should have been grounded.

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 ‘Multichoice, a scam’ – Nigerians react to new prices for DStv, GOtv

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There has been growing concerns among Nigerians over the recent increase in subscription fees for Multichoice products, specifically

There has been growing concerns among Nigerians over the recent increase in subscription fees for Multichoice products, specifically Gotv and Dstv. Many Nigerians have expressed their dissatisfaction with the company’s decision to raise prices annually, claiming that it is becoming excessive and burdensome for consumers.

Multichoice on Wednesday jacked up the prices of its offerings in Nigeria four months after its last increment. The company reviewed prices in its packages across the board. The new prices will take effect from May 1, 2024.

With the latest price hike, the DStv Premium package increased from N29,500 to N37,000. Similarly, the DStv Compact+ went up from N19,800 to N25,000 while the Compact package increased from N12,500 to N15,700.

The Comfam package moved from N7,400 to N9,300. Yanga package moved up from 4,200 to N5,100 while Padi package increased from N2,950 to N3,600. HDPVR was increased from N4,000 to N5,000, the Access Fees package from N4,000 to N5,000, and XtraView moved from N4,000 to N5,000.

Meanwhile, the Gotv Supa+ package moved from N12,500 to N15,700, Supa package from N7,600 to N9,600, and Max package from N5,700 to N7,200.

While the Jolli package was jacked up from N3,950 to N4,850, the Jinja package moved from N2,700 to N3,300, and Smallie package from N1,300 to N1,575.

The company implemented an upward review of prices in December 2023, days after announcing a $72m loss in its financial statement for the third quarter of the year.

Checks on the company’s reviewed price list then showed a 20 per cent per cent hike in the company’s packages across the board.

In April 2023, the broadcasting company also announced an upward review of prices on its DStv and GOtv packages by 17 per cent.

This was confirmed in a text message sent to customers that the new rates will take effect on May 1, 2023.

The pay-tv firm said the price adjustment was due to the rising costs of business operations.

“Please note that from May 1, your monthly subscription (premium) will be N24,500. To retain your old price of N21,000 for up to 12 months ensure you are active by April 30,” the text message reads.

Also, in March 22, MultiChoice increased the prices of its DStv and GOtv packages.

Announcing the increase in a statement, the company said the rising costs of inflation and business operations led to the increment in the prices of the packages.

As a result, there have been calls for the government, represented by the National Assembly leaders, to intervene and possibly even ban the usage of Multichoice products in the country.

The rationale behind this move is to safeguard the interests of Nigerian consumers who are grappling with the escalating cost of living in the country. The situation has led to heightened tensions between the company and its customers, with many calling for a more equitable and transparent pricing model.

Businesses need to respond to the concerns of their customers, particularly in a highly competitive market such as the media and entertainment industry. Multichoice’s current pricing policy has been met with significant resistance from Nigerian consumers, and the company must take proactive steps to address these concerns. Failure to do so may result in a loss of customer loyalty, decreased revenue, and reputational damage.

The PAPERS speaks with some consumers about the latest Multichoice products prices.

A civil engineer, Mr. Albert Ihedioha said: “It is not their fault; our government gave them the audacity to be scamming us deliberately. The government is not doing enough to protect the citizen of this country from scamming company like Multichoice. What stops this company from operating pay-as-you-go?  As for me, I have stopped using my DStv, I will look into anther cable for cheaper rate, enough is enough for DStv.

Another consumer, Mr. Kazzem Olaonipekun who operates lounge business also speaks against the hike and called it ‘scam’.

“This is not acceptable, I want call on the government to checkmate this South African company, we can’t accept this. This is like a daylight robbery and scam, imagine the inflation, look at the price and how they have been consistently doing it for three years. These are the people running down our economy, president Tinubu must intervene to this act with urgency.”

Speaking in the same vein, Mrs. Nkechi Sinat, a bar owner in Owerri said it is over to the Nigeria government to call Multichoice to order.

She said: “The truth of the matter is that those who are supposed to checkmate them have taken bribes, and that is why they feel they can do anyhow in our own country. Can we go to South Africa to do such? The kind of leverages they have here, can we have it there? As for me and my family, no more GOtv or DStv, and I want to confirm to you that I am selling off my dish once the current subscription expires next week.”

Mr. Michael Ighodalo from Belgium questions the manner at which some companies operate in Nigeria which is different from the way they operate in their own countries.

Hear him: “In a democratic country like Nigeria, such nonsense should stop. I think the Senate needs to look into this, especially this time when people are facing hardship, Multichoice is not reasonable at all. Is that the way they behave in their own country? I am calling on every Nigerian to stand up and say NO to MULTICHOICE and its products. They should stop the extortion. We have other products in the country why can’t we patronize them and dump these Multichoice products?”

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NGX: Investors lose N673bn in five hours

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Investors in the Nigerian equities market endured another bearish session on Wednesday as they lost N673 billion at the end of trading.

Investors in the Nigerian equities market endured another bearish session on Wednesday as they lost N673 billion at the end of trading.

This followed the dip in the share value of MTNN, Transcorp Hotel, Oando and FBNH on the trading floor today.

After five hours of trading at the capital market, the equity capitalization decreased to N55.4 trillion from N56.1 trillion posted by the bourse on Tuesday.

Similarly, the All-Share Index (ASI) decreased to 98,121.30 from 99,311.54 achieved by the bourse the previous day.

The market breadth was positive as 20 stocks advanced, 19 declined, while 78 others remained unchanged in 7,907 deals.

Sunu Assurances Nigeria, Neimeth International Pharmaceutical, and The Initiate led other gainers with 10% growth each in share price to close at N1.21, N1.98, and N1.98 from their previous price of N1.10, N1.80, and N1.80 per share.

UPDC, CAP, and McNichol also increased their share prices by 9.90%, 9.90%, and 9.57% respectively.

On the flip side, MTN Nigeria Communications and Transcorp Hotels led other price decliners as they shed 10% each off their share prices to close at N201.60 and N87.93 from their previous N224.00 and N97.70 per share.

Oando, First Bank of Nigeria Holdings (FBNH), and Fidson Healthcare equally shed their share prices by 9.90%, 9.82%, and 9.75% respectively.

On the volume index, Guaranty Trust Holding Company traded 81.407 million shares valued at N2.9 billion in 444 deals followed by Zenith Bank which traded 46.156 million shares worth N1.69 billion in 650 deals.

United Bank for Africa (UBA) traded 41.600 million shares valued at N953.5 million in 717 deals.

On the value index, GTCO recorded the highest value for the day trading stocks worth N2.93 billion in 444 deals followed by Zenith Bank which traded equities worth N1.69 billion in 650 deals.

UBA traded stocks worth N953 million in 717 deals.

Source: RipplesNigeria

 

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FULL LIST: Multichoice hikes DStv, GOtv prices

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Broadcasting company Multichoice has jacked up the prices of its offerings in Nigeria four months after its last increment.

Broadcasting company Multichoice has jacked up the prices of its offerings in Nigeria four months after its last increment.

The company reviewed prices in its packages across the board. The new prices will take effect from May 1, 2024.

With the latest price hike, the DStv Premium package increased from N29,500 to N37,000. Similarly, the DStv Compact+ went up from N19,800 to N25,000 while the Compact package increased from N12,500 to N15,700.

The Comfam package moved from N7,400 to N9,300. Yanga package moved up from 4,200 to N5,100 while Padi package increased from N2,950 to N3,600. HDPVR was increased from N4,000 to N5,000, the Access Fees package from N4,000 to N5,000, and XtraView moved from N4,000 to N5,000.

Meanwhile, the Gotv Supa+ package moved from N12,500 to N15,700, Supa package from N7,600 to N9,600, and Max package from N5,700 to N7,200.

While the Jolli package was jacked up from N3,950 to N4,850, the Jinja package moved from N2,700 to N3,300, and Smallie package from N1,300 to N1,575.

The PAPERS reports that the company implemented an upward review of prices in December 2023, days after announcing a $72m loss in its financial statement for the third quarter of the year.

Checks on the company’s reviewed price list then showed a 20 per cent per cent hike in the company’s packages across the board.

 

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UBA branches sealed over alleged N14.3 million unpaid tax

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The Kaduna Internal Revenue Service, KADIRS, on Wednesday sealed the United Bank for Africa branches in the state metropolis over

The Kaduna Internal Revenue Service, KADIRS, on Wednesday sealed the United Bank for Africa branches in the state metropolis over alleged N14.3million unpaid tax.

Speaking to newsmen after the excercise, Aysha Ahmad, the KADIRS Board Secretary/Legal Adviser, said the enforcement was to ensure tax compliance in the whole state in respect of withholding taxes and money agents.

“We sent so many demand notices to them. We have asked them to pay the money but they refused, we are left with no other option but to enforce,” she said.

Mrs Ahmad added that the service wants voluntary compliance of tax payment, while lamenting that the defaulter had been recalcitrant.

She, however, said when the defaulters pay, the service would unseal the premises.

Speaking further, the board secretary said the the enforcement was part of a rocess to achieve the N120billion revenue target set by the Kaduna state government.

“To achieve a target, there is always a starting point. Sealing UBA branches in the state for tax default is our start. We are also going after all other defaulters to get what is due for the state government.

“We served them with demand notices . We have been communicating with their consultant and Headquarters. Infact, they even took us to court and the outcome was like a win-win situation at the tax appeal tribunal.

“The court gave us directives to review our assessment which we did and they did not still comply. It is on the reviewed assessment we are enforcing this morning,” she said.

Mrs Ahmad called on the people of the state to ensure voluntary tax compliance, describing it as a civic responsibility.

NAN

 

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MTN records highest number of subscribers porting to other networks

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Telecommunications giant, MTN, has recorded the highest number of subscribers porting out of its network since inception to December 2022.

Telecommunications giant, MTN, has recorded the highest number of subscribers porting out of its network since inception to December 2022.

This is according to the Nigerian Communications Commission in its newly published 2022 Subscriber/Network Data Annual Report.

The report represents the analysis of the Subscriber and Service Data – Porting Trend in Nigeria, from May 2013 to December 2022.

The analysis revealed that of the four major GSM operators in the country, 444,226 subscribers ported out of MTN to other network providers, as against Airtel, Glo and EMTS that respectively recorded 351,422; 277,527; and 190,724 customers porting out.

The analysis also revealed that EMTS recorded 676,944 port-ins, representing the highest number of subscribers porting into its network, followed by AIRTEL with 331,837; MTN with 181,301; and Glo with 105,746 port-ins.

A segment of the report titled, ‘C. subscriber & service data – porting trend in Nigeria as at December 2022’, highlighted the number of GSM porting activities across the four major network providers in the country.

It read, “Table 14 below shows the trend of Nigeria’s porting activities from inception (May, 2013 to December, 2022) for the four (4) major GSM Operators. The analysis illustrates that EMTS had the highest count of Port-in subscribers [676,944] while Airtel, MTN and Glo respectively recorded the following counts of port-in as follows [331,837]; [181,301] & [105,746].”

“Similarly, our analysis from May, 2013 to December, 2022, reveals that MTN had the highest number of subscribers that ported-out [444,226] to other networks while Airtel, Glo & EMTS are as follows [351,422]; [277,527] & [190,742] respectively.”

 

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