*As El-Rufai, Fowler Others Meet Business Leaders Over VAIDS
By CLEMENT NWOJI, Abuja
The Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, has traced the underdevelopment of the country to tax evasion by over 56 million economically active population.
Saying that payment of tax stimulates economic growth, Adeosun cited that in Nigeria, only 14 million out of 70 million economically active population were paying taxes.
Adeosun revealed these even as she and the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai would on Thursday, March 1, meet with business leaders, business owners and tax payers in Kaduna over the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS).
The Kaduna State Government is hosting the VAIDS Stakeholders’ Symposium, which is expected to have in attendance Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler; members of the State Executive Council, members of the State House of Assembly and traditional rulers.
Also invited to the sensitisation meeting are business groups, tax advisers, captains of industries, professional and artisan bodies, and other strategic economic groupings within Kaduna State and environs.
According to the Minister, “Payment of taxes is a fundamental requirement for our growth story. Nigeria has a very poor scorecard in tax payment. When oil came, we abandoned the old systems of tax collection that provided most of our infrastructure since colonial days.
“Currently, we have just 14 million tax payers out of 70 million who are economically active. So, many people who should be paying are not paying anything. It is the development of taxes that will help the States and the Federal Government to achieve their true potentials.”
She identified regular tax payment by Nigerians as fundamental to the growth and development of the country.
She noted that predictable tax revenue inflow would lead to more investment by the Federal and State Governments in infrastructure and job and wealth creation across the nation.
She advised tax payers to take advantage of the tax amnesty opportunity to regularise their tax profiles, adding that tax defaulters would be subjected to investigations as well as made to face criminal prosecution for tax offences.
The VAIDS programme, which commenced on 1st July, 2017, provides opportunity for tax payers to voluntarily and truthfully declare their assets and incomes before the March 31st, 2018 deadline.
The Scheme embraces all Federal and State taxes such as Companies Income Tax, Personal Income Tax, Petroleum Profits Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Stamp Duties, Tertiary Education Tax, Technology Tax, Tenement Rates, and Property Taxes.
It also covers all back taxes for the last six years in line with the statutory periods of limitation under the relevant tax statutes.