FIRS, LIRS Partner to Reduce Compliance Costs for Taxpayers
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
A partnership aimed to reduce compliance costs for taxpayers in Nigeria has been entered into between the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Lagos State Inland Revenue Service (LIRS).
Signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the exchange of information and implementation of joint tax audit and investigation exercise on Monday, the Executive Chairman of LIRS, Mr Ayodele Subair, noted that the importance of the agreement was to foster greater collaboration between the two agencies.
He said though both tax agencies are not only independent of each other but different in the types of taxes they administer, the collaboration between the tax authorities was to promote the smooth operation of activities not only for the benefit of tax authorities but for improved service delivery for taxpayers.
“Notwithstanding its inclusion as a fundamental obligation of every Nigerian citizen pursuant to Section 24 (f) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, filing of annual income tax returns or payment of tax therefrom is not an issue that citizens are keen on.
“Nonetheless, citizens expect to have the direct benefit of democracy and good governance without remembering that the most reliable and sustainable means of Domestic Resource mobilization for government expenditure is taxation.
“There is no reason to debate the above as it has been established that tax compliance and good governance are expected to co-exist as the undividable social contract that binds citizens and governments anywhere in the world. Therefore, citizens and governments are expected to fulfil their end of the bargain in achieving a balance,” Mr Subair said.
He stated that, “Today’s signing of this Memorandum of Understanding is in furtherance of the above bargain on the part of the tax authorities. While this initiative of a joint audit is not a new one, it is peculiar because it comes at a time when our dear nation struggles with dwindling oil receipts and other economic woes which have affected the tax-to-GDP ratio, which is currently adjudged as the lowest globally, standing at approximately 6 per cent compared with our neighbouring countries which average between 15 per cent and 25 per cent.”
According to the LIRS Chairman, some of the expected achievements from this collaboration between both tax authorities include a reduction of compliance costs for taxpayers; improved transparency in the tax administration process, which will impact tax disputes, incidences and reconciliation; reduced administration costs for both tax authorities; and elimination of hiding place for recalcitrant taxable persons and entities.
In his remarks, the Executive Chairman of FIRS, Mr Muhammad Mamman Nami, said the essence of the collaboration between the FIRS and LIRS was to enable the two agencies to carry out joint projects together.
He also stated that in the course of its investigations, both parties would work as a team and ensure the automatic exchange of information, which would enable the agency to get more extensive data for seamless tax administration.
“We will work together as a team during the investigation and have an automatic exchange of information. With this, we will be able to carry out our mandate seamlessly. As part of the joint operation, we will be able to implement presumptive tax as far as issues of tax administration are concerned,” Mr Nami said.
Business Post gathered that the agreement signing ceremony, which took place at the Lagos State House, Marina, was witnessed by Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu; the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr Clement Agba; the Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Mr Rabiu Olowo; and the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), among others.
While commenting on the development, Mr Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the conversation for the harmonisation of the two agencies’ mandates started about a year ago, based on the need to forge a common front in widening the tax net to raise the country’s tax to GDP ratio.
The Governor observed that Nigeria had maintained an unimpressive tax-to-GDP ratio of between 6 per cent and 8 per cent despite the yearly record-breaking turnovers by both FIRS and LIRS.
This, he said, has mounted pressure on the nation’s resources and created an imbalance in government expenditure, stressing that Nigeria must operate at the same level as other nations within sub-Saharan Africa, doing between 14 per cent and 15 per cent in tax to GDP ratio in order to support the government’s development programmes and improve accountability.
“We have just witnessed an epoch-making ceremony between the FIRS and the LIRS. This collaboration did not just happen by chance; it is a conversation we started about a year ago with the chairman of FIRS when both parties reviewed their successes and limitations. It was clear there was a need for a relationship to be consummated.
“Both FIRS and LIRS have been breaking records of their tax collection and administration yearly, but this is not enough. We have an unimpressive tax-to-GDP ratio, which ranges between six and eight per cent; this is totally unacceptable.
“Studies have shown that there would be better service delivery to the citizens and improvement in the efficiency of tax collection when the two agencies work together. The cost of tax collection would be reduced, we would see better customer satisfaction, and more resources would be generated for the government to deliver more dividends of democracy.
“For us as a state, we are humbled by this collaborative effort, and we believe our citizens will be the ultimate beneficiaries of this initiative. The MoU is in the best interest of the public, as it affirms the reason why we need to come together and strengthen the cordial working relationship between the two agencies,” he stated.
BUA Cement, Nigerian Breweries, Others Drive Stock Market’s 0.06% Loss
By Dipo Olowookere
The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited recorded a 0.06 per cent loss on Friday as a result of the selling pressure on some blue-chip stocks at the bourse.
It was observed that the decline was mainly driven by the poor performances of financial and industrial goods shares during the trading session.
Data obtained by Business Post showed that the insurance space lost 1.01 per cent, the industrial goods counter depreciated by 0.66 per cent, the banking sector declined by 0.25 per cent, and the consumer goods category shed 0.21 per cent, while the energy index remained flat.
Consequently, the All-Share Index (ASI) moderated by 31.55 points to 54,892.53 points from 54,924.08 points, and the market capitalisation went down by N18 billion to N29.903 trillion from N29.921 trillion.
A total of 137.6 million shares valued at N3.9 billion exchanged hands in 2,912 deals on the last trading session of the week compared with the 117.9 million shares worth N1.4 billion traded in the preceding session in 2,575 deals, representing an improvement in the trading volume, value and the number of deals by 16.71 per cent, 178.57 per cent, and 13.09 per cent, respectively.
Fidelity Bank closed the session as the most traded equity after it sold 21.5 million units and was trailed by GTCO, which sold 14.9 million units. Neimeth traded 14.0 million shares, UBA exchanged 12.8 million equities, and Transcorp traded 8.9 million stocks.
Investor sentiment was slightly strong yesterday as the market breadth was positive with 13 price gainers and 11 price losers led by AIICO Insurance, which fell by 5.00 per cent to 57 Kobo.
Linkage Assurance depleted by 4.76 per cent to 40 Kobo, Coronation Insurance went down by 4.76 per cent to 40 Kobo, International Breweries depreciated by 2.25 per cent to N4.35, and Transcorp lost 2.19 per cent to trade at N1.34.
On the flip side, NPF Microfinance gained 6.94 per cent to finish at N1.85, Geregu Power appreciated by 6.25 per cent to N323.00, Lasaco Assurance rose by 5.00 per cent to N1.05, Chams grew by 4.17 per cent to 25 Kobo, and Japaul improved by 3.57 per cent to 29 Kobo.
Analysis of the market data indicated losses reported by BUA Cement (1.60 per cent), Nigerian Breweries (0.55 per cent), GTCO (0.25 per cent), and Zenith Bank (0.15 per cent) caused the downfall of the exchange on Friday.
Again, NASD OTC Exchange Valuation Crosses N1 trillion
By Adedapo Adesanya
The market capitalisation of the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange recorded a 5.3 per cent appreciation at the final session for the week, Friday, March 24, to close at N1.01 trillion from N959.06 billion on Thursday.
Business Post reports that this is the second time the value of the NASD OTC exchange would cross the N1 trillion mark.
The first was when Access Bank Plc was admitted to the alternative stock exchange in March 2022 and about a year later, it again crossed the same mark after Purple Real Estate Income Plc joined the platform on Thursday and began trading the next day.
Meanwhile, the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) grew by 0.5 points or 0.07 per cent yesterday to wrap the session at 730.37 points compared with 729.87 points recorded in the previous session.
The day’s single price gainer was Geo-Fluids Plc, which improved its value by 16 Kobo to close at N1.80 per share versus Thursday’s closing price of N1.64 per share.
The volume of securities traded by investors depreciated on Friday by 67.3 per cent to 1.7 million units from 5.2 million units, the value of transactions slumped by 87.2 per cent to N3.1 million from N24.3 million, while the number of deals decreased by 78.6 per cent to three deals from the 14 deals carried out in the previous trading day.
Geo-Fluids Plc remained the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with 462.1 million units valued at N505.0 million, UBN Property Plc stood in second place with 365.8 units valued at N309.5 million, while IGI Plc was in third place with 71.1 million units valued at N5.1 million.
In terms of the most traded stock by value on a year-to-date basis, VFD Group Plc was on top of the chart for exchanging 7.3 million units worth N1.7 billion, followed by Geo-Fluids Plc with 462.1 million units valued at N505.0 million, and UBN Property Plc with 365.8 million units valued at N309.5 million.
Naira Appreciates at Official Market, Loses at Peer-to-Peer, Black Market
By Adedapo Adesanya
It was a mixed bag for the Naira at the foreign exchange (forex) market on Friday as its value closed stronger against the United States Dollar in the Investors and Exporters (I&E) side of the market but was weaker in the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) and the parallel market.
Data showed that the local currency gained 34 Kobo or 0.07 per cent against its American counterpart to trade at N461.33/$1 compared with the previous day’s value of N461.67/$1.
It was observed that the Nigerian currency gained weight during the session despite being pressed by FX demand pressure, resulting in the sale of $241.38 million worth of forex at the close of transactions, $161.35 million or 66.8 per cent higher than the $80.03 million recorded in the preceding session.
In the P2P window, the domestic currency lost N1 against the US Dollar to settle at N756/$1, in contrast to the N755/$1 it was sold a day earlier.
In the same vein, the Naira depreciated against the greenback in the black market yesterday by N1 to close at N743/$1 compared with Thursday’s closing rate of N742/$1.
However, in the interbank segment, the Nigerian Naira closed flat against the Pound Sterling and the Euro on Friday at N566.08/£1 and N497.72/€1, respectively.
In a related development, the digital currency market was in the red as most of the tokens tracked by Business Post depreciated in price, as the markets reacted to the latest Federal Reserve interest rate hike. The Fed opted to increase rates by 25 basis points (bps) as many had anticipated and signalled one more hike this year.
Bitcoin (BTC) slid by 3.0 per cent to $27,458.80, Ethereum (ETH) dropped 3.8 per cent to $1,745.28, Solana (SOL) lost 6.3 per cent to trade at $20.61, Litecoin (LTC) went down by 2.9 per cent to $92.64, Dogecoin (DOGE) shrank by 2.3 per cent to $0.0748, Cardano (ADA) declined by 2.2 per cent to $0.3586, and Binance Coin (BNB) went down by 1.1 per cent to trade at $323.15, while Ripple (XRP) appreciated by 2.2 per cent to $0.4465, with Binance USD (BUSD) and the US Dollar Tether (USDT) flat at $1.00 apiece.
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