By Matthew Denis Abuja
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has warned Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government (MDAs) against the appointment of consultants and concessionaires to collect taxes due to the Federal Government or any of its agencies, as the FIRS is the sole agency of government saddled with the responsibility of tax collection.
This contained in a statement signed by the Executive Chairman of FIRS, Muhammad Nami and made available to Nigerian NewsDirect on Thursday.
“The FIRS accused some MDAs of including functions of assessment, collection, accounting and enforcement of taxes and levies in their agreements with concessionaires and consultants.
“It has come to the notice of the Federal Inland Revenue Service that some Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government (MDAs) are appointing concessionaires or consultants for the assessment, collection, accounting or enforcement of taxes and levies due to the Federal Government or any of its agencies.
“Some MDAs include such functions in their agreements with concessionaires or consultants,” the Public Notice read.
Citing Section 68(2) of its Establishment Act, the FIRS highlighted that by law it is “the primary agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria responsible for the administration, assessment, collection, accounting and enforcement of taxes and levies due to the Federal Government or any of its agencies, except as may be authorised by the Minister responsible for Finance by regulation as approved by the National assembly.”
The Notice also stated that while Section 12(4) of the FIRS Establishment Act has provided that the Service may engage consultants, accountants or other agents to carry out certain functions on its behalf, the law has expressly prohibited the carrying out of assessing and collecting tax by consultants.
The law provides that: “The Service may appoint and employ such consultants, including tax consultants or accountants and agents to transact any business or to do any act required to be transacted or done in the execution of its functions under this act; provided that such consultants shall not carry out duties of assessing and collecting tax or routine responsibilities of tax officials.”
According to the Notice, going by “the above provisions of the law, it is clear that the duty of administration, assessment, collection, accounting or enforcement of taxes and levies due to the Federal Government or any of its agencies is that of the Federal Inland Revenue Service and its tax officials. No part of these responsibilities can be contracted to a private enterprise by any other MDA.”
The Executive Chairman further cautioned MDAs who were in the business of appointing consultants for tax assessment and collection that they were not just acting against the letters of the law, but were committing offences that were punishable under the FIRS Establishment Act as amended.
“Furthermore, appointment or authorisation of any person, other than by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, to assess, collect, enforce or account for taxes constitutes an offence under Section 68(3) of the FIRSEA. Such appointment or authorisation is punishable, upon conviction, with fine, imprisonment or both under Section 68(6) of the Act.
“In view of the foregoing, where any person, individual or corporate, has any information or assistance that may be of use to the Service for the purpose of administration, assessment, collection, accounting or enforcement of taxes and levies due to the Federal Government or any of its agencies or for the performance of its duties under the FIRSEA, such person should approach the Service directly with such useful information.”
NIMASA, MWUN dialogue on fate of disengaged NNSL seafarers
By Seun Ibiyemi
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN have begun discussions on how to resolve the lingering issue of terminal benefits of Seafarers whose appointments were terminated due to the liquidation of the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line, NNSL.
The Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir JamohOFR, and the Vice President of the Nigerian Labour Congress who is also the President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, jointly announced an agreement for physical verification of the affected seafarers/next of kin as the case may apply; the nature of appointment of all affected seafarers, and the exact amount due each beneficiary.
The NIMASA DG also assured the Union that their position will be communicated to the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, to ensure the Government takes all necessary actions to bring to a conclusion the issue of NNSL.
“The issue of industrial harmony in the maritime sector is of uttermost interest to our administration at NIMASA. We have been at this for a while. NIMASA had offered N100 million as settlement, which the Union declined.
“We have also discovered that some of those demanding settlement did not even have any employment letter. We will follow the lead from our supervising Ministry and ensure the physical verification exercise is brought to a logical conclusion. Our Honourable Minister will be duly updated by the Agency. I look forward to closing this issue in months to come,” the DG said.
On his part, the President General, Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) Comrade Adeyanju restated the commitment of the Union to peaceful resolution of disputes; to ensure the rights and privileges of workers are well protected, without disrupting productivity in the Maritime Sector. He commended the Jamoh led Management at NIMASA,urging others to follow suit.
“I would like to commend NIMASA under Dr Jamoh, for the unflinching commitment to industrial harmony. He is always a phone call away to resolve any issue. Yes, NIMASA offered N100 million to offset the terminal benefits.
“However, if others like Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Shippers Council and the rest also add funds, there will be enough to go round the expected beneficiaries. As we did for dockworkers when a flat rate of two hundred thousand was paid during port concession; that is what we want, putting into consideration the realities on ground now.”
COP28: Airtel Africa calls for enabling policy environment, collaboration for climate action in Africa
The Group CEO of Airtel Africa plc, Segun Ogunsanya, has reiterated the importance of an enabling policy environment for sustainable development and climate action in partnership with Africa’s private sector at COP28.
Mr. Ogunsanya, a member of the United Nations Global Compact’s African Business Leaders Coalition (ABLC), addressed a distinguished audience at a COP28 side event co-hosted by Airtel Africa and the ABLC.
Guests included the President of Botswana, His Excellency Mokgweetsi Masisi; the Finance Minister of Nigeria, Mr. Wale Edun; the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Nigeria, Mr. Nyesom Wike; Ms. Sanda Ojiambo, the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC); Chairman of BUA Group Nigeria limited, Abdul Samad Rabiu and several business leaders from across Africa.
The Group CEO of Airtel Africa urged African business leaders and governments to join forces to advance sustainable growth, development, and prosperity across the continent.
He said, “We stress the importance of an enabling policy environment for sustainable development and climate action in partnership with Africa’s private sector. Livelihood and living must go together.”
He also shared details of Airtel Africa’s environmental stewardship initiatives. These include ‘Project Green,’ launched in 2022, and focused on circular economy practices, especially in the responsible replacement of end-of-life equipment to minimise potential adverse environmental impacts.
Furthermore, in March 2023, Airtel Africa joined the multi-stakeholder partnership to eliminate open waste burning from Africa. This collaborative effort with local authorities, private companies, community groups, civil society and development partners targets a 60 percent reduction by 2030 and complete elimination of open waste burning by 2040.
Mr. Ogunsanya declared, “Airtel Africa’s corporate purpose, our driving force, is to ‘transform lives.’ This is not simply a slogan but a genuine passion that informs every aspect of our operations and every decision we take.”
He concluded, “It is our firm belief that African businesses, including Airtel Africa, stand ready to leverage global markets to accelerate the transition to a future-fit economy. We must deliver economic development, inclusive growth and GHG emissions reduction at the same time to enjoy the fruits of sustainability.”
The United Nations African Business Leaders Coalition (ABLC) is a collaborative initiative comprising African business CEOs committed to fostering sustainable growth, prosperity, and development throughout the African continent.
Members in the coalition, including Airtel Africa, committed to escalating the adoption of renewable energy, investing in climate-adaptation solutions, and ensuring an equitable transition. During COP28, the ABLC released a policy recommendation urging governments to establish conducive regulatory frameworks that facilitate collective climate action.
The recommendation further advocates for the setting of decarbonization targets and the acceleration of initiatives such as green minerals and climate adaptation programs and calls for increased access to climate financing to support these endeavors.
Non-Interest Financing critical to funding amidst high debt service levels — Wale Edun
By Matthew Denis
The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun has stated that the country needs Non-Interest Financing as a critical sector towards funding as the country is faced with high levels of debt servicing.
The Minister’s disclosure at the SEC Nigeria-Islamic Financial Service Board (IFSB) International Forum held in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said, “Non-interest financing is a critical part of funding and that is because as we all know, we are faced with three crises right now which are the climate, and biodiversity but there is also a debt crisis in major countries and of course, the available solution is non-debt, equity and financing mechanisms that will eliminate the pains of paying interest on loans. Rather, it is better to have a participatory opportunity that equity and non-interest finance gives.
“And so what we are saying here is a critical piece of the solution to the crises of the world currently, including the fact that for the rapid and inclusive growth this administration desires, we need to have green projects so we don’t only need to have projects funded by equity.
“As we all know, our debt service levels and revenue to debt service ratio are so high and currently constrained.”
The Minister stressed that there is fiscal exhaustion in many parts of the world and there is also a need to finance green projects.
“So the only way to grow our economy is not just relying on foreign direct investments, and domestic investments but tap into the world of non-interest financing.”
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