Nigeria engages international investigating company to catch tax evaders

Nigeria engages international investigating company to catch tax evaders

- Adeosun says Nigeria is ready to step on big toes with the new move but it has to be done

- The minister says the FEC has allowed her ministry to sign an agreement that would make catching tax evaders possible

- Adeosun says tax evaders are destroying the Nigerian economy with their illicit transfer of funds outside the shores of the country to places where they would pay little or no tax

Finance minister Kemi Adeosun has said the Federal Government has acquired the services of an international investigation agency to trace Nigerian money being transferred out of the country to different parts of the world.

Adeosun revealed this while delivering a keynote address at the Nigerian Stock Exchange-Bloomberg CEO roundtable in Lagos.

The minister noted further that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at its last meeting on Wednesday, June 14 granted her ministry permission to sign global agreement that allowed Nigeria to deal with companies transferred out of Nigeria profits made here to countries where they are allowed to pay little or no tax at all.

The Punch reports that the minister said the illicit flow of funds out of Nigeria was harming the country.

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She said: “It deprives us of essential funds and those same funds are then used to finance developments in other nations. This must stop.”

She added: “We have just 40 million active taxpayers out of an estimated 69.9 million, who are economically active in Nigeria. And of that 40 million, the majority are PAYE (Pay As You Earn), that is, those who have their tax deducted at source.

“Among those who are even paying taxes, there is widespread malpractice that results in only part of the actual income being subjected to tax.

“We have a lot of work to do if we are going to build a sustainable revenue base that will deliver the growth we desire. Even within our tax-paying community, only 214 people in the entire nation pay taxes of N120m in spite of having some of the richest people in Africa and some of the best capitalised companies in Africa; only 214 in the entire country, all of who are in Lagos State.

Adeosun said the country is ready to do all necessary to tackle the issue of tax evasion for the country to grow.

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She said: “And to do so, we will have step on some big toes, and we will need to step on them hard. But we really have no choice.

“Those who have more must carry their fair share of the tax burden, and so to this end, for the last 15 months, we have engaged in a huge data-gathering exercise. We have engaged one of the world’s leading global investigating agencies and we have traced funds originating from Nigeria to all parts of the world.”

Meanwhile, had earlier reported that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) says it is set to recruit at least 7,500 young Nigerian graduates.

The graduates, when employed, are expected to serve as Community Tax Liaison Officers (CTLOs) through the ongoing federal government’s N-Power program.

Finance minister Kemi Adeosun and the executive chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, said this on Thursday, June 15 at a press conference.

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