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FCT-IRS Engages Tribunal, Security Agencies to Clamp Down on Tax Defaulters

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The Federal Capital Territory Internal Revenue Service (FCT-IRS) has concluded plans to clamp down on erring taxpayers.

The Acting Executive Chairman of the Service, Mr Haruna Abdullahi, made this known in a statement by the FCT-IRS Head Corporate Communications, Mr Mustapha Sumaila on Sunday in Abuja.

Abdullahi, according to the statement, made the disclosure when he paid a courtesy call on the Coordinating Secretary of Tax Appeal Tribunal, Hajara Oniyangi.

The acting chairman expressed concern at the poor level of compliance by taxpayers in spite of the huge number of taxpayers in the FCT.

He stated that it would no longer be business as usual, adding that the service was determined to ensure all taxpayers in FCT were responsive to their civic duties.

He stressed that the service would not leave any stone unturned, saying it was empowered by law to recover all outstanding tax liabilities while penalising tax defaulters.

“We are engaging the Judiciary, security agencies, the media and other relevant stakeholders on this matter.

“I can assure you that before the year runs out people will be held accountable.

“We have built our capacity and it is our intention to make our mark by ensuring that people do what they are supposed to do according to the law.

He said the Service would be guided by the Personal Income Tax Act, Finance Act, FCT-IRS Act and of course the constitution in it’s operation.

Abdullahi, who assured the tribunal of the capacity of the service, charged members of the tribunal to justify the confidence reposed in them by bringing recalcitrant taxpayers to book.

The acting executive chairman expressed optimism that the exercise would prompt voluntary tax compliance, tax net growth and ultimately boost revenue generation.

The Coordinating Secretary, Tax Appeal Tribunal, Hajara Oniyangi, said the tribunal was established to settle disputes that could arise in the course of the duties.

She disclosed that the Tribunal’s processes were simple and clear with a reputation for prompt judgment delivery.

While lauding Abdullahi’s effort, Oniyangi highlighted the need for the service to intensify awareness, stating that taxpayers could not be entirely blamed for non-compliance.

She said there was a need for tax payers to be duly informed about tax processes, advantages of paying taxes as well as risks of non compliance.

The Secretary of the tribunal, Mr Ahmed Aliyu, lauded the step taken by the service towards ensuring enforcement.

He pledged commitment of the tribunal to acting within the ambit of the law to ensure that cases from FCT IRS were given accelerated hearing.

He stressed the need for the FCT-IRS to harness all areas of revenue generation as permissible by law.

“If for instance there are organisations that collect personal income tax and fail to remit, it is sometimes difficult to go in there and force them as a service.

“That is why the tribunal was created by government and once judgment is delivered by the tribunal, even if a defaulter wants to appeal, he or she would have to first pay the money,” he said.

News men report that the Federal Capital Territory Internal Revenue Service (FCT-IRS) was established by FCT Internal Revenue Service Act of 2015.

It is empowered by the National Assembly to administer tax and non-tax revenues accruable to the FCT.

It is responsible for collection of all taxes collectible by a state government in accordance with the Taxes and Levies (approved List of Collection) Act of 1998 as Amended.(NAN)

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Economy

Seplat Energy Pays $2bn Tax to FG in 10 Years

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Seplat Energy, an independent indigenous energy company, on Tuesday, said it had paid two billion dollars tax contribution to the Federal Government of Nigeria since its listing on the Nigerian Exchange Ltd.(NGX) in 2014.
Mr Roger Brown, Chief Executive Officer(CEO), Seplat Energy, revealed this while delivering a speech at the Closing Gong ceremony in Lagos.

The event was to commemorate the company’s 10 years anniversary of dual listing on the Premium Board of the Nigerian EExchange Ltd.

(NGX) and the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

Brown stated that the oil and gas company, Seplat, also contributed 2.8 billion dollars as tax to the federal government over the past 13 years, after its establishment in 2009.

He explained that the company paid 1.54 billion dollars as royalty to the government, 329 million dollars as Petroleum Profits Tax, 273 million dollars as Value Added Tax, and 259 million dollars as Witholding Tax.

According to him, the energy firm also paid a tax of 276 million dollars to the Nigerian Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and others as well as 126 million dollars as Pay-As-You-Earn(PAYE).

The CEO stated that at post Initial Public Offering(IPO) of the firm, it generated 1.7 billion dollars in Free Cash Flow(FCF) and invested 1.6 billion dollars in Capex.

He also said that the company had paid dividends worth 575 million dollars between 2014 when it became listed and the financial year ended 2023.

Brown noted that the business of the energy firm continued to generate strong cashflows, reflected in its strong FCF and NCFO generation.

He said: “Similarly, we have generated a cumulative 3.3 billion dollars in net operating cash flow post IPO.

“Our strong cash flow generation has supported our ambitions to expand our business, which has seen us spend an aggregate of 1.6 billion dollars in capital expenditure.

“In over 10 years, we invested 57 million dollars in community projects on health, education and empowerment as strong commitment to community development.

“As a leading supplier of gas to Nigeria’s domestic Gas-To-Power Market, at times Seplat gas powered 20 to 30 of Nigeria’s domestic grid in 2023.”

He expressed delight over the feat, reiterating Seplat Energy’s commitment to leading Nigeria’s energy transition.

According to him, the power of indigenous companies is to bring growth and prosperity to their home countries and the people.

“One example of how Seplat Energy is making an enduring difference to Nigeria and host communities where we operate is that nearly 50 million dollars had been invested by our Joint Venture partnerships in communities since our inception to date,” Brown said.

“Truly, Seplat Energy has delivered significant value by enhancing strategic, operational and financial achievements in 10 years as a listed company,” he added.

In his comments, Mr Temi Popoola, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), NGX Group, emphasised the significance of Seplat Energy’s decade of dual listing.

He said, “If we were to look back to our market and tried to find landmarks, the last major landmark you will find in the last ten years is this transaction that we are celebrating today, and the market is very grateful for that.”

Congratulating Seplat Energy on this milestone, in his welcoming remarks, Alhaji Umaru Kwairanga, NGX Group Chairman, highlighted the importance of partnerships between the NGX and companies like Seplat Energy in driving economic growth and development.

He stated that “Seplat’s journey symbolises resilience, innovation, and a commitment to excellence, making them a beacon of corporate governance and operational expertise.

“Seplat Energy has emerged as a leading indigenous energy company, deeply integrated into Nigeria’s economic landscape and the NGX Group remains committed to supporting companies like Seplat Energy as they drive economic growth and contribute to our nation’s prosperity.”

Reflecting on the significance of the decade of dual listing, Mr Udoma Udo Udoma, Board Chairman, Seplat Energy, remarked, “Seplat Energy is committed to driving Nigeria’s transition to sustainable and affordable energy, harnessing its power to improve lives by transforming the economy.

“We have ambitious goals. We are investing in Nigeria. We will support the federal government’s energy transition policy, and we will partner with FG in whatever area they want us to do.

“That is our commitment. We will grow Seplat while also maintaining the highest standard of corporate governance.”

Also commending Seplat Energy on the decade of listing, Mr Jude Chiemeka, Acting CEO, NGX, stressed the importance of the capital market in helping companies raise funds and create wealth for all.

Chiemeka said, “Seplat Energy was listed at N576 at listing and yesterday it closed at 3,370, which is an increase of over 484 per cent.

“The figures show that in the last 10 years, the company has paid out 575 million dollars  in dividend payments to shareholders in Nigeria and London where they are also listed.

“So, this company has given investors a huge opportunity to really participate in wealth creation.

“Reports show that Nigeria would be among the top 20 countries in the next 25 years, and I think Seplat is poised to be one of the institutions driving growth, prosperity, and inclusion in our nation.”

Also, gracing the Closing Gong ceremony was Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources (Oil), who commended the company on it laudable achievements.

“I am happy to be part of today’s celebration and Seplat’s exceptional performance in the last ten years and as Minister of State, Petroleum Resources,

“I assure you that we will partner with Seplat to expand their investments, not only for the benefit of its shareholders, but also for Nigeria.

“The least the government can do anywhere in the world is to create an environment where companies like Seplat continue to thrive.”(NAN)

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Economy

34 States Shunned 35th Enugu Int’l Trade Fair

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No Fewer than 34 states in the country failed to honour invitation to attend the just-concluded 35th Enugu International Trade Fair.

Reports says that only the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja; Ebonyi State and the host state, Enugu State, graced the 11-day international goods, services and idea showcasing fiesta.

The fair, which began on April 5 and ended on Monday, April 15, was themed: “Promoting made-in-Nigeria products for global competitiveness.

Reacting, the Director-General of Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Mr Uche Mbah, said that the chamber followed due diligence in the invitation of all states to the fair.

Mbah noted that official letters were sent and official follow-up on the letters were made to ensure their presence and availability.

According to him, “we did everything to get them to add colour and increase the showcasing of products from different parts of the country and their investment viability.

“We did put in spirited efforts to see that all states participated, as most of them do previously.

“But it is unfortunate that many did not respond after receiving official letters, phone calls and interpersonal follow-ups were made.

“We got clear assurances from Kano State but they did not show up.

“We pushed harder to get Abia State but in the end, we were told that the governor did not approve,” he said.

Reports says that over 100 organisations were at the fair, which included: over 50 private companies as well as over 45 Federal and State government ministries, agencies and departments. (NAN)

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Economy

Nigeria’s Inflation Hit 33.20% in March, says NBS

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The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says Nigeria’s headline inflation rate increased to 33.20 per cent in March 2024.
The NBS said this in its Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Inflation Report for March, which was released in Abuja on Monday.
According to the report, the figure is 1.50 per cent points higher compared to the 31.

70 per cent recorded in February 2024.

It said on a year-on-year basis, the headline inflation rate in March 2024 was 11.
16 per cent higher than the rate recorded in March 2023 at 22.04 per cent.
In addition, the report said, on month-on-month basis, the headline inflation rate in March 2024 was 3.02 per cent, which was 0.10 per cent lower than the rate recorded in February 2024 at 3.
12 per cent.
“This means that in March 2024, the rate of increase in the average price level is less than the rate of increase in the average price level in February 2024.”
The report attributed the increase in the headline index for March 2024 on a year-on-year basis and month-on-month basis to increase in some goods and services at the divisional level.
It said these increases were observed in food and non-alcoholic beverages, housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuel, clothing and footwear, and transport.
Others, it said, were furnishings, household equipment and maintenance, education, health, miscellaneous goods and services, restaurants and hotels, alcoholic beverage, tobacco and kola, recreation and culture, and communication.
It said the percentage change in the average CPI for the 12 months ending March 2024 over the average of the CPI for the previous corresponding 12-month period was 27.13 per cent.
“This indicates a 6.76 per cent increase compared to 20.37 per cent recorded in March 2023”, it said.
The report said the food inflation rate in March 2024 increased to 40.01 per cent on a year-on-year basis, which was 15.56 per cent higher compared to the rate recorded in March 2023 at 24.45 per cent.
“The rise in food inflation on a year-on-year basis is caused by increases in prices of Garri, Millet, Akpu (uncooked fermented, which are under bread and cereals class), Yam Tuber, and Water Yam.
“Others are Dried Fish Sadine, Mudfish Dried, Palm Oil, Vegetable Oil, Beef Feet, Beef Head, Liver, Coconut, Water Melon, Lipton Tea, Bournvita, and Milo”, NBS said.
It said on a month-on-month basis, the food inflation rate in March was 3.62 per cent, which was a 0.17 per cent decrease compared to the rate recorded in February 2024 at 3.79 per cent.
“The fall in food inflation on a month-on-month basis was caused by a decrease in the average prices of Guinea corn flour, Plantain Flour etc (under Bread and Cereals class); Yam, Irish Potato, and CocoYam.
“Others are Titus fish, Mudfish Dried, Lipton, Bournvita, and Ovaltine”, it said.
The report said that “all items less farm produce and energy’’ or core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce and energy, stood at 25.90 per cent in March on a year-on-year basis.
“This increased by 6.26 per cent compared to 19.63 per cent recorded in March 2023.’’
“The exclusion of the PMS is due to the deregulation of the commodity by removal of subsidy.”
It said the highest increases were recorded in prices of bus journey within the city, actual and imputed rentals for housing, consultation fee of a medical doctor, etc.
The NBS said on a month-on-month basis, the core inflation rate was 2.54 per cent in March 2024.
“This indicates a 0.37 per cent increase compared to what was recorded in February 2024 at 2.17 per cent.”
“The average 12-month annual inflation rate was 22.26 per cent for the 12 months ending March 2024, this was 5.04 per cent points higher than the 17.22 per cent recorded in March 2023”, it said.
The report said on a year-on-year basis in March 2024, the urban inflation rate was 35.18 per cent, 12.11 per cent higher compared to the 23.07 per cent recorded in March 2023.
The report said on a year-on-year basis in March 2024, the rural inflation rate was 31.45 per cent, which was 10.37 per cent higher compared to the 21.09 per cent recorded in March 2023.
“On a month-on-month basis, the rural inflation rate was 2.87 per cent, which decreased by 0.20 per cent compared to February 2024 at 3.07 per cent’’, it said.
On states’ profile analysis, the report showed that in March, all items inflation rate on a year-on-year basis was highest in Kogi at 39.97 per cent, followed by Bauchi at 38.34 per cent, and Kwara at 38.10 per cent.
It, however, said the slowest rise in headline inflation on a year-on-year basis was recorded in Borno at 25.78 per cent, followed by Benue and Taraba at 28.12 per cent, and Katsina at 28.32 per cent.
The report, however, said in March 2024, all items inflation rate on a month-on-month basis was highest in Zamfara at 3.90 per cent, followed by Abia at 3.89 per cent, and Ondo at 3.75 per cent.
“Borno at 1.46 per cent, followed by Yobe at 1.84 per cent and Adamawa at 1.85 per cent recorded the slowest rise in month-on-month inflation”, NBS said.
The report said on a year-on-year basis, food inflation was highest in Kogi at 48.46 per cent, followed by Kwara at 46.18 per cent, and Akwa Ibom at 45.18 per cent.
“Nasarawa at 33.76 per cent, followed by Borno at 34.28 per cent and Bauchi at 34.38 per cent recorded the slowest rise in food inflation on a year-on-year basis’’, it said.
The report, however, said on a month-on-month basis, food inflation was highest in Abia at 5.17 per cent, followed by Cross River at 5.14 per cent, and Bayelsa at 4.75 per cent.
“Cross River stood at 1.59 per cent, followed by Yobe at 2.08 per cent and Adamawa at 2.12 per cent, recorded the slowest rise in inflation on a month-on-month basis”, it said. (NAN)

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