NEPZA, FIRS to Modify Free Trade Zones Tax Guidelines

July 29, 2022
tax guidelines

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) have agreed to adjust some sections of the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on effective tax administration to accommodate some salient concerns.

The agencies had on June 7 signed the tax pact to reconcile grey areas in the administration on issues bordering tax deductions from free zones and enterprises operating in the zones respectively.

A cross-section of the stakeholders had raised concerns about some sections of the guidelines that contravene some provisions of the NEPZA Act for operators in the free trade zones.

The agreement to adjust the MoU was reached on Wednesday during a formal presentation of the document to the stakeholders at a roundtable organised by NEPZA in Lagos.

Mr Adesoji Adesugba, Managing Director, NEPZA, explained that the event was to make adjustments where necessary on how the FIRS and NEPZA would treat tax issues relating to business interactions within the free trade zone ecosystem.

He noted that Section 5 of the MoU had given parties the leverage to call for the amendment of the tax guidelines when necessary.

“The authority’s recent diplomatic advances with sister agencies, especially, the FIRS can only be described as a game changer.

“We have always insisted that the free trade zone scheme must be allowed to succeed as that truly remains a potent economic instrument for widespread growth and development.

“Therefore, we have agreed to adjust the tax pact to capture some of the salient concerns of the stakeholders.

“The authority will not shy away from protecting the scheme and those who have invested billions of dollars in the scheme and we are delighted that the FIRS has become our advocate in this regard.

“We are also happy that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has given us the impetus through his favourable policies to deepen the growth of the scheme,” he said.

On his part, Mr Mohammed Nami, Executive Chairman, FIRS, said concerns of the stakeholders would be evaluated, adding that the document was a flexible guideline on how to administer the MoU.

Mr Nami, represented by Mr Mathew Gbonjubola, Coordinating Director of the organisation, noted that not all the concerns raised were genuine, saying that the FIRS was knowledgeable enough on issues around free trade zone tax administration.

He explained that the FIRS would not unduly interrogate tax remittances of enterprises with full status of free trade zones, noting that all other issues raised on the tax pact would be addressed within two months.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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