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FG to pay 2.5% commission in loot recoveries

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The Federal Government is seeking the approval of the National Assembly to pay 2.5 per cent as commission to those that assisted it in the recovery of the late General Sani Abacha loot and other funds stashed abroad.

It equally wants approval of N30 billion as part payment of the N150 billion that has been accumulated for years.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, dropped the hint during the ministry’s budget defense yesterday in Abuja.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler, yesterday said Nigeria loses $15 billion yearly to tax evaders.

He spoke while declaring open a seminar by the West Africa Tax Administration Forum (WATAF) on “Exchange of Information’’ as a tool to combat offshore tax evasion, especially in the ECOWAS sub-region.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the three-day event, organised in collaboration with the Global Forum on Transparency, is to deepen the capacities of tax administrators from West Africa through exchange of information on taxation.

Fowler said: “Nigeria loses about $15 billion yearly.”

He noted that the increasing mobility of income and assets had created a major challenge for tax administrators in the sub-region.

This, he said, was so because several information leaks in the past years had revealed the depth and breadth of the challenge.

According to him, “this shows that a vast amount of money is being kept offshore and therefore, goes untaxed.”

He, however, said governments world over were collaborating to address the challenge.

The FIRS boss pointed out that efforts were being made to offer a global response to issues of international tax avoidance, evasion, illicit financial flows, money laundering and other harmful practices through advanced technology.

Fowler noted that Nigeria had demonstrated commitment to improve transparency in tax matters with the signing of a declaration and the joining of the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCCA) on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in 2017.

He said to facilitate the implementation of the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information under the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), the country had taken decisive steps.

To this end, Fowler urged countries in the sub-region that had not committed to implementing the AEQI standards to do so.

This, he said, was critical as the automatic exchange of information portends huge benefits for domestic resource mobilisation.

The FIRS chief executive continued: “By the time we exchange financial transactions, we will be able to determine if tax revenue that is due to your country is actually being paid.”


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