FIRS boss warns shipping firms: we‘ll enforce tax compliance

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Zacch Adedeji

Special Adviser to the President on Revenue, Zacch Adedeji, has pledged that every kobo spent by the current administration would count. He gave the assurance at a one-day hybrid sensitization workshop titled “Guidelines for Private Sector Response to Illicit Financial Flow (IFF) Vulnerabilities in Nigeria” and organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) in Abuja.
Adedeji said the President believes in fiscal discipline and would ensure judicious utilisation of the country’s revenue and resources. He pledged that the government would strengthen the fight against illicit financial flows (IFFs).
The presidential aide admitted that IFFs had significantly eroded domestic revenues and hampered government’s efforts to mobilize resources, thereby threatening economic stability and sustainable development.

Adedeji advised the private sector to key into the government’s efforts at tackling IFFs. In his welcome remarks, ICPC boss, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, noted that IFFs were a drain on the nation’s potential revenue accretion and foreign exchange reserves.
This, according to him resulted in exchange rate depreciation, inflation and increase in cost of servicing external debts, in addition to negatively impacting on cost of imported goods like petrol, with its attendant radical consequences on daily livelihood experiences of ordinary citizens.
To wriggle out of the situation, the ICPC boss canvassed diverse measures to improve the country’s quest for domestic revenue increase relative to size of its economy amid the volatile global economic and financial system.
Programme Director (Africa) of Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), Mrs. Lola Adekanye, in her presentation reviewed the guidelines, while Chief Compliance Officer/Company Secretary of Oando Plc, Mrs. Ayotola Jagun, outlined the private sector’s response to the rules. Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Mr. Zacch Adedeji, also warned that his agency would enforce compliance to tax laws among foreign shipping lines engaged in lifting Nigerian crude. He gave the warning at a workshop on taxation of non-resident shipping companies in Lagos.
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Dare Adekanmbi, in Abuja, yesterday, quoted Mr. Adedeji as saying that Section 14 of the Companies Income Tax Act (CITA) 2004 (as amended) made it mandatory for foreign companies engaging in shipping and air transport operations in Nigeria to file tax returns to remain in business in the country. The statement read:  “The compliance exercise on international shipping companies lifting crude oil from Nigeria is in line with this strategy of broadening the tax net. I am sure all the international shipping companies that we contacted are aware of the importance of complying with tax laws in the various jurisdictions they operate. “Therefore, I urge the international shipping companies that are not complying with Nigerian tax laws to begin to do so immediately. The Service has noted the concerns raised by stakeholders in the oil and gas industry and the maritime sector regarding the tax compliance exercise initiated on international shipping companies lifting crude oil from Nigeria.”

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