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2017 Tax & Fiscal Policy Prospects



2017 Tax & Fiscal Policy Prospects

2017 Tax & Fiscal Policy Prospects

By Taiwo Oyedele

Now that 2017 is here

We often have new hopes and high expectations at the turn of new events including the turn of a new year regardless of past experiences and notwithstanding our current reality.

As a country Nigeria has expectations for tax and so are individuals and organisations. To a large extent and under normal circumstances, tax should be relatively more predictable given that the rules, and administration are totally within the control of appropriate authorities. Unlike attempting to predict the weather for a whole year or other natural and supernatural events.

In any case, here are my key predictions for the tax environment in 2017 based on instinct, observable trends, behaviour of key actors in the tax system, and analysis of past patterns.

Tax Policy

There is a revised National Tax Policy awaiting government approval for implementation. It is expected that the Policy will be approved and implementation will commence but with very little traction due to vested interests and insufficient buy-in from those who need to make the required changes.

The 2017 Budget of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework have no specific proposals to increase tax rates or impose new taxes in 2017. The budget speech was silent on key tax policies but stated a commitment to align fiscal, monetary and trade policies. There are plans to revive the Export Expansion Grant scheme.

Government will focus on measures to discourage imports which suggest that import duties and waivers may be revised. Already we have seen a revision in some duty rates announced towards the end of 2016 partly designed towards the implementation of the new ECOWAS Common External Tariffs regime.

The ongoing review of tax incentives will be completed and should have a positive impact on government revenue if it addresses current abuse and plug existing leakages.

Tax Administration

Government is less bullish about non-oil revenue in 2017 compared to 2016 given the recent abysmal performance. It is expected that due to losses being reported by many companies in addition to other tax attributes such as unutilised capital allowances, the government tax take will be lower than anticipated especially from Companies Income Tax.

VAT collection is likely to improve partly due to the impact of the government social welfare scheme of conditional cash transfer and increased enforcement of compliance by FIRS but will still perform much below its potentials.

The aggressive stance by government at all levels will continue and intensify. In addition to imposition of stiff penalty and interest there is likely to be criminal prosecutions. Guidelines from the FIRS will continue to be hazy and request for rulings and direction by taxpayers may not receive prompt attention.

Internally generated revenue drive will continue to be on the front burner but still only an insignificant progress will be made due to the haphazard approach and the prevailing harsh economic condition.

It is counter-intuitive that many politicians play politics with revenue generation by placing political considerations ahead of professionalism. Unfortunately many lawmakers, administrators and policymakers lack proper understanding of the tax system. This coupled with undue political interference and vested interests mean that tax revenue will continue to be disappointingly low.

The FCT Internal Revenue Service will make some progress towards the full implementation of its mandate. Adoption and implementation of e-tax systems by various tax authorities will continue to be slow and ineffective.

More stakeholders will trigger the necessary provisions of the Freedom of Information Act to request for relevant information on tax administration, spending and expenditure control.

Some of the initiatives by the FIRS such as joint audit and use of consultants will continue to face implementation hurdles and unlikely to yield any major results. A number of tax authorities will introduce tax amnesty in order to expand the tax net and encourage voluntary compliance.

Tax Regulation

There will be some progress with the restructured Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) with a high possibility for the governance framework being passed into law but other aspects of the Bill which are more controversial including the fiscal regime, derivation formula and host community issues will remain unresolved.

The proposed 9% Communication Service Tax will not see the light of day in its current form due to public resistance, bad timing which may be considered as insensitive and poor articulation of the justifications for the tax.

There will be some efforts to begin a comprehensive tax law review in 2017. The attempt to broaden the scope of stamp duty to cover savings account deposits, among others, will not yield any positive result as well as the plan to charge VAT on international passports.

Nigeria will sign more tax treaties for the avoidance of double taxation but ratification at the National Assembly necessary to domesticate the treaties will continue to be slow.

Tax Justice

The Tax Appeal Tribunal will be reconstituted. The aggressive level of tax audits by tax authorities especially the progress being made by the FIRS regarding transfer pricing reviews will lead to more disputes and hence a rise in tax appeal cases.

More tax disputes will be resolved in favour of taxpayers due to untenable positions taken by the tax authorities. The judiciary will generally continue to struggle with proper and timely dispensation of tax cases due to lack of in-depth tax knowledge especially in more complex situations and evolving areas.

The Global Tax Space

The OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) action plan will continue to be a major area of focus for tax authorities around the world. Many countries will enact new laws or amend existing ones to provide a legal framework for its implementation. However, there will be very little progress in Africa including Nigeria as many countries will be unable to make the necessary legal changes. Many more countries will subscribe to the Common Reporting Standards and join the multilateral treaties for collaboration, and exchange of information but implementation will be sketchy.

There will be some tax leaks but not at the same level and magnitude of the 2016 Panama Papers. The scrutiny of tax havens will increase and tax ‘sweetheart deals’ will be challenged both legally but more importantly from a morality standpoint.

The new ECOWAS Common External Tariff scheme will continue to experience poor implementation by member countries thereby undermining the regional integration efforts.

2017 Tax Resolutions

Just in case you do not have any New Year resolutions for tax, you need to commit to paying your taxes correctly and on time. Tax will not just be a compliance matter but a business continuity and sustainability issue. More importantly, as a taxpayer you must hold government accountable for the taxes paid. This will create more tax awareness and citizen engagement.

Overall, the tax journey in 2017 will be bumpy but I am cautiously optimistic that it will end in safe landing albeit with some bruises.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.


FAAC Allocation to FG, States, LGs in March Shrinks to N722.7bn




By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The amount shared to the three tiers of government, the federal government, state governments, and local governments, by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), decreased in March 2023 from the money distributed in February.

A communique issued on Wednesday after the FAAC meeting in Abuja disclosed that N722.7 billion was disbursed from the revenue generated by the country last month compared with the N750.2 billion shared in February.

A breakdown showed that the total distributable revenue of N722.677 billion comprised distributable statutory revenue of N366.800 billion, distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N224.232 billion, Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) of N11.645 billion and N120.000 billion Augmentation from Forex Equalisation Account.

In the disclosure signed by the Director of Press and Public Relations of the Office of the Account-General of the Federation (OAGF), Mr Bawa Mokwa, it was disclosed that in February, Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT), Companies Income Tax (CIT), Oil and Gas Royalties, Import and Excise Duties all decreased significantly while Value Added Tax (VAT) and Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) decreased marginally.

Explaining how the money was disbursed, FAAC said from the N722.677 billion, the federal government received N269.063 billion, the state governments got N236.464 billion, and the local councils were given N173.936 billion, while N43.214 billion was shared to the oil-producing states as 13 per cent derivation revenue.

Further, from the N366.800 billion distributable statutory revenue, the federal government received N178.683 billion, the state governments received N90.630 billion, and the local government councils received N69.872 billion, with relevant states getting N27.614 billion as 13 per cent derivation revenue.

In addition, from the distributable N224.232 billion from VAT, the federal government received N33.635 billion, the state governments received N112.116 billion, and the local councils received N78.481 billion.

The statement also said N11.645 billion Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) was distributed as follows: the Federal Government received N1.747 billion, the State Governments received N5.822 billion, and the Local Government Councils received N4.076 billion.

From the N120.000 billion Augmentation, the Federal Government received N54.998 billion, the State Governments received N27.896 billion, the Local Government Councils received N21.506 billion, and a total sum of N15.600 billion was shared to the relevant States as 13 per cent of mineral revenue.

In February 2023, the total deductions for the cost of the collection were N27.449 billion, and total deductions for transfers, savings, recoveries and refunds were N109.909 billion, while the balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) was $473,754.57, the same amount it had remained since December 2022.

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Local Stock Exchange Extends Growth by 0.06% Amid Weak Sentiment



Local Stock Exchange

By Dipo Olowookere

Investor sentiment at the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited was weak on Wednesday as traders chew over the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to raise the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) by 0.50 per cent to 18.00 per cent.

However, the local stock exchange closed higher by 0.06 per cent, buoyed by the 0.08 per cent growth reported by the insurance sector.

Business Post reports that the consumer goods space lost 0.02 per cent, the banking and the industrial goods counters depreciated by 0.01 per cent each, as the energy index remained flat.

When the market closed for the session, the All-Share Index (ASI) improved by 31.43 points to 54,936.11 points from 54,904.68 points, while the market capitalisation went up by N19 billion to N29.928 trillion from N29.909 trillion.

Analysis of the market data showed that the growth posted yesterday was fragile as the highest price gainer, Coronation Insurance, appreciated by 2.44 per cent to 42 Kobo, GTCO also rose by 2.44 per cent to N25.20, Linkage Assurance grew by 2.22 per cent to 46 Kobo, Lasaco Assurance jumped by 2.04 per cent to N1.00, and Transcorp grew by 1.56 per cent to N1.30.

On the flip side, NCR Nigeria suffered the heaviest loss after its value went down by 9.69 per cent to N2.61, FTN Cocoa depreciated by 6.90 per cent to 27 Kobo, Japaul lost 6.67 per cent to quote at 28 Kobo, Cutix declined by 4.95 per cent to N2.11, and Consolidated Hallmark Insurance decreased by 4.62 per cent to 62 Kobo.

Yesterday, investors transacted 134.2 million stocks worth N1.3 billion in 2,479 deals compared with the 127.7 million stocks worth N1.6 billion traded in 2,987 deals, representing an increase in the trading volume by 5.09 per cent, a decline in the trading value by 18.75 per cent, and a shortfall in the number of deals by 17.01 per cent.

The most traded stock on Wednesday was Transcorp with the sale of 28.1 million units, UBA exchanged 21.2 million units, Courteville sold 19.1 million units, GTCO transacted 13.6 million units, and FBN Holdings traded 8.1 million units.

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FrieslandCampina Lifts NASD OTC Market by 0.07% at Midweek




By Adedapo Adesanya

The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange returned to positive territory after back-to-back losses, following a 0.07 per cent appreciation on Wednesday, March 22.

This was influenced by the 96 Kobo gain reported by FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc during the session to settle at N75.41 per share compared with N75.01 per share of the preceding session.

The improvement in the share price of the milk maker pushed the value of the unlisted securities market by N710 million to N961.17 billion from N960.46 billion, while the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) grew by 0.54 points to wrap the session at 731.48 points compared with the 730.94 points of the previous session.

The level of activity witnessed a significant increase yesterday as the volume of securities closed higher by 274,515.6 per cent to 23.1 million units from the 8,408 units transacted in the previous trading day.

Equally, the value of shares traded at the session jumped to N10.1 million, which by evaluation is 814.0 per cent higher than the N1.1 million posted on Tuesday.

These transactions were carried out in 13 deals compared with the three deals executed in the previous trading day, indicating a 333.3 per cent appreciation.

At the close of business, Geo-Fluids Plc remained the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with the sale of 455.3 million units valued at N493.6 million, UBN Property Plc stood in second place with a turnover of 365.8 units worth N309.5 million, while IGI Plc was in third place with a turnover of 71.1 million units valued at N5.1 million.

On the flip side, VFD Group Plc was the most traded stock by value on a year-to-date basis with a turnover of 7.3 million units worth N1.7 billion, Geo-Fluids Plc followed with the sale of 455.3 million units worth N493.6 million, while UBN Property Plc was in third place with a turnover of 365.8 million units valued at N309.5 million.

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