By Matthew Denis Abuja
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has stated that it has commenced the deduction of taxes at transaction points from Online Gaming Transactions using the Sentinal National Payment Gateway and Electronic Solution.
In a Public Notice signed by its Executive Chairman, Muhammad Nami, the Service while directing full compliance by the online gaming community, explained that the Sentinal National Payment Gateway was a transaction processing system that enables Integrated Payment Services Providers to deduct taxes at the points of transaction and immediately remit the tax deducted to the government’s treasury.
“The FIRS is automating the administration of tax on online gaming using Sentinal National Payment Gateway and Electronic Solution.
“Sentinal National Payment Gateway is a transaction processing system that enables Integrated Payment Service Providers to deduct taxes at transaction-points and remit the tax deducted directly to government’s treasury.
“The deployment of Sentinal National Payment Gateway will simplify tax compliance for companies engaged in online gaming activities,” the notice read.
The FIRS also noted that all operators offering online gaming services in Nigeria, not later than the 31st of December 2022, were required “to connect to the Sentinal National Payment Gateway, deduct tax from online gaming transactions and remit same directly to the relevant government’s treasury.”
The Notice stated that though it was not mandatory for online gaming operators offering online gaming services from outside Nigeria to be incorporated in Nigeria, they are compelled by extant tax laws to connect to the Sentinal National Payment Gateway for the purposes of dedicating tax from the gaming transactions of players in Nigeria, and remitting same directly to the government purse.
Mr. Muhammad Nami, Executive Chairman of the FIRS, commenting on this approach to tax collection at the point of transaction stated that the country needed to innovate and harness technology for improved revenue generation from e-commerce as well as for accountability.
“The world is entering a challenging time where there is a strong obligation on Governments to increase tax revenue as a percentage of GDP so as to provide much needed funding for local infrastructure and public services. Nigeria needs to innovate and harness technology to ensure that online transactions are taxed and accounted for.
“We have been very impressed with the Sentinal platform which allows us to not only collect tax revenues at source, but also provides us with tax reporting and monitoring tools in real time,” Mr Nami stated, “The system will also integrate with our own TaxPro Max portal.”
In his comments at a meeting with the tax authority head, the Director General of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission of Nigeria, Mr. Lanre Gbajabiamila commended the adoption of this innovation, describing it as a “huge step” for taxation of the gaming industry.
“Online gaming continues to grow rapidly in Nigeria, particularly on mobile, and the adoption of E-technologies’ Sentinal National Payment Gateway is a huge step for us to allow us to capture gaming duty at source.
“We are welcoming all responsible offshore gaming operators to apply for a Remote Operator Permit as long as they pass all the relevant criteria including full AML screening and responsible gaming practices. We are proud to be the first country to adopt the Sentinal System and we believe it will bring a real national benefit to Nigeria,” Mr. Gbajabiamila noted.
David Kicks, the CEO of the E-Technologies Global Limited, the proprietors of the Sentinal National Payment Gateway expressed excitement over the adoption of the system by the Service.
“Governments in rapidly developing nations are struggling to keep pace with the evolution of eCommerce and the ascent of mobile transactions.
“We are thrilled that the Nigerian Government has made the decision to integrate our Sentinal System, which empowers them to streamline online taxation. By understanding better how the payments ecosystem behaves and evolves, we can drive a paradigm shift towards a point of consumption tax methodology,” he said.
AGF urges 36 State Governors to implement financial autonomy for the judiciary
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Lateef Fagbemi, SAN urges the Attorneys General of the 36 states to ensure full implementation of financial autonomy for judiciary in their respective states.
Fagbemi made the call at the meeting of the Body of Attorneys General on Tuesday in Abuja.
“I urge my distinguished colleagues to ensure the full implementation of financial autonomy for the judiciary across our States as provided for under Section 121(3)&(4) of the Constitution.
“This is as a mark of our true and holistic commitment to the ideals of democracy and good governance.
“We should in this regard seek to robustly build the capacities of the judiciary, both in terms of personnel and infrastructure, particularly by investing in technologies that are necessary to automate vital aspects of our court operations and ultimately implement a digital justice delivery system”.
He noted that the need for improvements within the judicial and justice sector institutions and practices is non-negotiable.
“Access to justice goes to the very heart of what our mandate entails. So, we will in this regard critically look at the major policy documents that would lead us to this goal.
“One of the documents is the revised National Justice Policy, 2024-2028 which we hope would be considered and adopted at the National Summit on Justice.
“The ministry is making plans with relevant stakeholders to convene a National Summit on Justice, to among other things, engage all justice sector stakeholders to constructively look at how far we have gone in the implementation of the 2017-2022policy document.
“We will in this regard seek to examine current challenges within justice sector institutions with the objective of supporting critical reforms, necessary to build a resilient justice system; facilitate adherence to rule of law, respect for fundamental human rights and ultimately, build public confidence in the entire justice sector”.
He said there is the over-riding need for close collaboration, cooperation and mutual understanding in the performance of the constitutional and statutory responsibilities by the Attorneys General.
“We collaboration both horizontally between the national and subnational entities and vertically by the three arms of government at all levels.
“We need to see how we can strengthen the entire justice sector particularly the administration of criminal justice sector, in order to meet the end goals of justice and the expectations of our citizens.
“This objective is very central and key to the realisation of our mandates as Chief Law Officers within the Nigerian Federation.
“As we all know, the effectiveness and functionality of the justice system has direct effect on the overall development, stability and sustainability of any society”.
Fagbemi said that it had become imperative for states of the federation to take maximum benefit of the constitutional alterations in developing their legal and policy frameworks legislative issues.
“In doing so, I enjoin the states to ensure proper structuring and delineation of their responsibilities by taking cognizance of the constitutional doctrine of covering the field, so as to minimize or avoid constitutional frictions”.
Nigeria’s waters now secured for local, intl. trade – Navy chief
The Nigeria Navy says it has successfully secured the country’s territorial waters for local and international merchant ships to transport goods and services without fear of criminal attacks.
Rear Adm. Zakariyya Muhammad, Chief of Training and Operations, Nigeria Navy, gave this indication to newsmen in Onne, Rivers, at the end of a four-day naval expedition, codenamed “Exercise Nchekwa Oshimiri 2023”.
The four-day exercise, tagged ‘Chief of the Naval Staff 2023 Annual Sea Inspection’, featured 13 warships, 88 patrol boats, two helicopters and 4,000 personnel.
Muhammad said the navy was able to fully secure the nation’s maritime environment with enhanced presence of its patrol boats and warships at sea.
“Our enhanced presence at sea had restored the confidence of merchant ships and other maritime stakeholders in conducting legitimate activities.
“This four-day exercise afforded us the opportunity to maintain presence at sea; enhance our maritime security – leading to interrogation of several ships and arrest of one.
“Exercise Nchekwa Oshimiri has enhanced the training of personnel onboard our ships for better performance in delivering our constitutional mandate of securing Nigeria’s maritime domain,” he said.
Muhammad said that Nigeria’s maritime environment and economic zone were now secured which has impacted positively in security of the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
“So, our increased presence at sea has given more confidence to merchant ships to carry their trade without fear or threat from maritime criminal elements.
“This exercise has also improved security within the wider GoG because our sister navies and countries are abreast that we are conducting this exercise,” he added.
Speaking, Navy Capt. Tony Archibong, Commanding Officer, Nigeria Navy Ship (NNS), Kada, said the exercise was an enormous success.
He said Exercise Nchekwa Oshimiri was part of actionable steps taken to end oil theft, sea robbery, sea piracy and illegal unreported and unregulated fishing, among others, in Nigeria’s waters.
According to him, the exercise was used to improve operational capability of Navy’s fleets and stimulate real-time operational scenarios.
“During the exercise, we had a merchant vessel stimulate a rogue vessel engaged in anti-piracy for which we dispatched NNS Aba and NNS Oji to intercept, board, seize and search the rogue vessel.
“The exercise is used to build confidence in our security architecture aimed to secure the maritime environment for mariners to continue to carry out their trade and economic activities.
“Therefore, this will benefit both the Nigerian people and other maritime stakeholders using our waters,” he said.
The Nigeria Navy also conducted activities like anti-bunkering operation, fleet manoeuvring, gun exercises and replenishment (refuelling of warship from another) among others.
Insurgency: Defence Minister, Service Chiefs visit Maiduguri operational base
The Minister of Defence, Muhammad Badaru Abubakar, on Tuesday, paid an operational visit to the Theatre Command, Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK) in Maiduguri.
Abubakar was accompanied in the visit by the Minister of State for Defence, Bello Mattawalle, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Christopher Musa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal, Hassan Abubakar, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla and Chief of Defence Intelligence (CDI), Maj.-Gen. Emmanuel Undiandeye.
The Minister said that he was in Maiduguri in company of the high level delegation of the Service Chiefs assigned by President Bola Tinubu, to appraise security situation in the theatre of operation.
“President Tinubu asked us to visit the governor and the good people of Borno, and our patriotic officers here in Borno to see and to hear from them, what is happening both in the frontline and in the cities.
“What are the progress being made and what we need to do more to support their operations.
“We had frank and honest discussions with Gov. Bagana Zulum before coming here where we discussed the way forward and it is our resolve that in no distant future, we will see the end of the insecurity.
“He had also shared a lot of strategies with the CDS and the Service Chiefs and together they agreed on the next line of action and I believe if followed religiously, insecurity in the state will come to an end,” the Minister said.
Abubakar reitrated commitment of the president to support the military and security agencies to end insurgency and restore peace to ensure sustainable resettlement of displaced persons.
“From here, we will go to see our troops, greet and thank them for their sacrifices, for being their and taken the bullet for us, for all the work that they are doing as well as hear from them on their challenges and needs so that we can how best we can resolved them
“The crop of leadership we have in the military are working hand in hand together and have resolved to fight this war diligently and they are working as a family committed to see the end of the menace in no distant future.
The Minister commended Zulum for his support to the military, adding that, “we appreciate all the support, sometimes you risk your life in supporting and giving courage to our personnel in the frontline”.
Responding, Zulum said the visit to the theatre demonstrated the commitment of Service Chiefs towards achieving lasting peace in the State.
He said the security situation in the state had improved tremendously as a result of the successes recorded by the troops.
The governor cautioned against sensational security reportage, noting that the insurgents leverage on such information to breathe in spite of its diminishing capacity.
“Within the last two weeks, I have been to the nooks and crannies of the state and reports reaching me from stakeholders in these areas indicated that peace has returned in the state,” he said.
While lauding President Tinubu and the military for sustaining the improved security situation in the state, Zulum urged them to root out remnant of the terrorists.
“The only way we can degrade their presence is continued and sustained military operations,” he said.
He said that about 160,000 insurgent fighters and their family members had surrendered sequel to the non kinetic effort of the military.
The governor sought the support of the military in terms of manpower development to enable the state to curtail transborder small arms and light weapons proliferation.
“We have insurgency in other part of the country but the security in the northeast is very important for the stability of the country because of the porous borders with Niger, Cameroon and Chad Republics.
“We have to ensure that we don’t have safe haven for ISWAP in the northeast as the Sahel is now a major problem,” he said.
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