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LIRS Introduces New Tax Forms …….Reduces Cost of Replacing Electronic Tax Clearance Card (e-TCC) ……Goes tough on Tax Evaders in Lagos State

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As part of efforts to enhance the ease of doing business in Lagos State, the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service ((LIRS) has announced various initiatives aimed at achieving efficient tax administration in the State. The Executive Chairman of LIRS, Mr. Olufolarin Ogunsanwo made this known on Tuesday March 8 at a press conference held at Lagos Press centre, Alausa, Ikeja in the company of the House Committee Chairman on Finance, Lagos State House of Assembly, Honorable Oluyinka Ogundimu, Lagos State Commissioners for Finance, Mr. Mustapha Akinkunmi, Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde and the Attorney General of the State, Mr. Adeniji kazeem.

According to Ogunsanwo, the agency has consistently been at the vanguard of reform activities aimed at easing the process of doing business in Lagos State in particular and by extension Nigeria, thereby championing several initiatives aimed at supporting His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, in achieving his electoral promises to Lagosians.

Among the initiatives is the introduction of a new two-page tax form to replace the old six-page form which is to be used for both direct and self assessments. He stated that the revised form and its guide notes would be translated to Pidgin English and Yoruba for ease of completion and wider reach”

In the same vein, the chairman noted that physical filing of Annual Returns is already being complemented with e-submission (on-line submission of Annual Returns) to ease compliance by Tax Payers.

Another initiative by the LIRS according to the chairman is the introduction of  customer-care desk in all the 38 Tax Stations to deal promptly with all issues that may be brought up by tax-payers saying the initiative will be complemented with the launch of LIRS Hotline that will provide 24/7 customer-call service in English, Yoruba and Pidgin English.

The chairman emphasized that payment for tax should be made convenient and because of this the agency is leveraging on technology to offer multi-modal payment portals including but not limited to PoS, mPay, online, etc without sacrificing the traditional/extant payment portal at the bank thereby taking payment portals to the tax payers for their convenience.

Furthermore, Ogunsanwo pointed out that the agency has concluded all arrangements to ensure that maximum response time of 72 hours to all electronic tax clearance certificate (e-TCC) requisitions is met and failure should be reported to any of customer care-desks.

Meanwhile the chairman disclosed that the current cumbersome requirements for replacement of lost e-TCC such as Police Report, Sworn Affidavit etc are to be waived and replaced with presentation of LASRRA Card while the replacement fee is to be reduced from N2,500= to N1,000= only.

Specifically the chairman stated that the agency has commenced the process of overhauling of the informal sector operations with a view to easing voluntary compliance by tax payers in this huge sector  that have been categorized into three which include the  Market Men/Women and Artisans,  Micro, Small & Medium Scale Enterprises (including Professionals) and Household Domestic Staff (HDS).

In view of the declining revenue from the centre as a result of fall in the price of crude oil, Ogunsanwo revealed that LIRS is poised to focusing on other revenue sources such as Consumption Tax from Hotel Occupancy, Withholding Tax on Contracts, Rent, Royalties and other areas to shore up the Revenue in the State.

Speaking at the event, the State Attorney General and commissioner for Justice Mr. Niji Kazeem said the administration of Governor Ambode had put in place necessary measures to end the era of tax evasion and indeed avoidance in the state, adding that tax avoiders and evaders would be aggressively pursued in line with the provisions of the law.

The Commissioner, who disclosed that the Ministry of Justice had established a Rapid Tax Prosecution Unit to aid the Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) in its drive to collect taxes, added that the unit would work closely with the Revenue Courts, which the Chief Judge of Lagos State recently agreed to set up.

The Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Mustapha Akinkunmi said in the light of the reduction of federal transfers to States including Lagos, the State government was looking inwards to secure sustainable ways of increasing its revenue profile and plugging leakages in the system.

Other critical stakeholders in attendance at the well attended press conference were President, Chartered institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Mrs Olateju Somorin,Vice president, Lagos State Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mrs. Agnes Shobajo, representatives of  Association of professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Market Men and Women Associations of Nigeria, Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) among others.

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Oando Clean Energy, Cross River State, Sign MoU on Renewable Energy Infrastructure

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Oando Clean Energy (OCEL),  the renewable energy business subsidiary of Oando Energy Resources and the Cross River State Government have  signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the rollout of electric vehicles for mass transportation within the state at the ongoing 28th edition Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The move in setting up an electric vehicle (EV) assembly plant, is expected to create jobs for local indigenes as well as build a 100MW wind plant for power generation.

Representing the Governor of Cross River State, Bassey Otu at the MoU signing was the state’s Commissioner for Special Duties, Oden Ewa, saying the landmark agreement marked a significant step forward in the state’s journey toward a cleaner and more sustainable future. He said: “The MoU paves the way for the transitioning of our mass transit system to cleaner and less expensive fuels while also allowing for the use of our natural resource, wind, to provide electrification for our people.

“I commend Oando Clean Energy for their innovative solutions that address the impact of climate change in Nigeria and her citizens.”

According to Oando , it said,  as  a company, it has committed to ensuring that this journey to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future is as seamless and as easy as possible.

“This is by putting our confidence in, not only the technology but the partnership and ensuring that the Cross River State government and her people reap the benefits of generating power from sustainable sources”. The statement read.

Oando’s Clean Energy’s scope spans the entire 35 states of the federation and the federal capital, promising to create a cleaner, more viable energy ecosystem for Nigeria and the  people of Cross River.

In attendance at the side event were amongst others, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Abubakar Momoh;  Minister of the Environment, Abbas Balarabe;  Minister of State for Environment, Dr. Kunle Salako; Commissioner for Special Duties, Cross River State, Mr. Oden Ewa, among others.

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House Of Representatives Issues Warrant Of Arrest On Central Bank Governor, Cardoso, Accountant-General, 17 Others

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The House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Petitions has asked for a warrant of arrest to be issued on the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Olayemi Cardoso, the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Oluwatoyin Madein, and 17 others over refusal to appear before it to answer questions on their operations.

It was gathered that the issuance of the arrest warrant was sequel to the adoption of a motion moved by Fred Agbedi, representing Ekeremo/Sagbama Federal Constituency of Bayelsa State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the committee’s hearing on Tuesday.

Agbedi, while moving the motion, said that the arrest warrant had become imperative following the attitude of the invitees, adding that the parliament worked with time and the CEOs had been invited four times but failed to respond to the invitations.

Agbedi said that the CBN Governor, the AGF and the rest of the invitees should be brought to appear before the committee by the Inspector General of Police through a warrant of arrest after due diligence by the House Speaker, Rep Tajudeen Abbas.

The Chairman of the Committee, Micheal Irom (APC-Cross River), in his ruling said that the Inspector-General of Police should ensure the invitees were brought before the committee on December 14.
It was gathered that the petitioner, Fidelis Uzowanem, had earlier said that the petition was anchored on the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) 2021 report.

Irom said, “We took up the challenge to examine the report and discovered that what NEITI put together as a report is only consolidation of fraud that has been going on in the oil and gas industry.

“It dates back to 2016 because we have been following and we put up a petition to this committee to examine what has happened.

“The 2024 budget of 27.5 trillion that has been proposed can be confidently funded from the recoverable amount that we identified in the NEITI report.

“It is basically a concealment of illegal transactions that took place in NNPCL; they have been in a sink with some oil companies where some companies that did not produce crude were paid cash core, an amount paid for crude oil production.”

 

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FCTA uncovers illegal oil refining warehouse in Abuja

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In continuation of the city cleaning exercise, Authorities of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) with operatives of security personnel have uncovered an illegal oil refining warehouse in Mabushi, opposite Mobile filling station on Ahmadu Bello way in Abuja.

 

The Director, Department of Development Control, FCTA, Mukhtar Galadima after the operation on Thursday, said the illegal refining site was discovered during the continuation of the city cleaning exercise.

 

According to him, about three to four plot of lands designated for commercial purposes have been converted to an area where oil and diesel are being adulterated and circulated to other parts of the city.

 

Galadima explained that the city sanitation task force will look into the provision of the law and make necessary recommendations to the FCT Administration for further actions on the plots used for the activity.

 

He said there was no arrest but the items used in carrying out the illegal refining have been impounded.

 

Galadima said, “During the continuation of our city sanitation exercise in Mabushi opposite Mobile filling station on Ahmadu way, we discovered an illegal refining site where oil and diesel are being adulterated, we have done the needful by moving the items to Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.

 

“From what we have seen so far, about three or four pilot of lands designated for commercial purposes have been converted to unapproved activities, which we believe the owners are fully aware, there will be consequences.

 

“We are going to look at the provision of the law and make necessary recommendations to the FCT Administration”

 

He said the administration will continue to go tough on activities being carried out without government approval,  especially revocation of the titles.

 

Collaborating, Head, operations FCT Directorate of Road Traffic Service (DRTS), Deborah Osho said the city management team during the exercise also discovered that most of the areas in the Nation’s capital have been converted to illegal car mart and motor parks.

 

She disclosed that fifteen vehicles have so far been impounded since the operation commenced about two days.

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