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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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Union Bank, WACOT Rice Kick Off Financial Inclusion Drive for Smallholder Farmers in Kebbi

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As part of Union Bank’s commitment to driving financial inclusion in Nigeria, the Bank has partnered with WACOT Rice Limited – a rice processing company, to financially include 6,000 local farmers including youth and women in Kebbi State.
The Kebbi Financial Inclusion Drive (KFID) which will cover four Local Government Areas – Argungu, Augie, Suru, and Dandi – is a critical part of WACOT’s Argungu Outgrower Expansion Project funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) West Africa Trade Hub. This program is set to resolve the overwhelming financial inclusion deficit within rural communities in Kebbi.
The financial inclusion initiative is being implemented with technical support from National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), to help the farmers acquire the relevant documentation and identification required to open bank accounts.
Union Bank will facilitate account opening and expand its agency banking network to cover the areas while supporting its agents on ground with digital banking solutions to enable seamless transacting and account management.
Farouk Gumel, Chairman WACOT and Board Chair, Union Bank was on ground in Kebbi State to kick-off the drive and paid a visit to the Kebbi state Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu to discuss expanding the programme state-wide.
In his recent keynote address at the recently concluded and  Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) Conference, Mr. Gumel said:
 “As we work towards achieving financial inclusion to reach the unbanked, we must commit the same resources and investments to rural-local customers as we have done to urban-global clients to help create the growth that will lift us all to collective prosperity.”
WACOT Rice is a subsidiary of TGI Group. TGI Group, through another of its subsidiary Titan Trust Bank, recently acquired Union Bank in a landmark transaction which was announced in 2021.

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FIRSTBANK PARTNERS VERVE INTERNATIONAL, MAKES CUSTOMERS MILLIONAIRES IN THE FIRSTBANK VERVE CARD PROMO

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In partnership with FirstBank – Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider – Verve International, Africa’s leading payment technology and card business, has launched its third National Consumer promo designed to reward users of FirstBank verve card with exciting gifts and cash prizes to appreciate their patronage and use of the card to carry-out their electronic banking transactions.

The ongoing 2-month promo will end on 30 October 2022 as 20 customers (10 customers per month) with the highest transaction count during the promo will be made millionaires, winning the sum of N1 million each. Also, N20,000 will be won by 25 customers monthly.

On the other hand, 2620 FirstBank verve cardholders that double their transactions every week, stand a chance to enjoy 10% cashback capped at N2,000 per customer.

Speaking on the promo Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products, FirstBank said “we appreciate our partnership with Verve Card through the years; a partnership of empowerment and opportunities which include growing the economy, supporting new businesses and preventing unemployment. FirstBank verve card holders are encouraged to keep using their cards as it is a card offering that promotes safe, convenient and rewarding digital banking experience with 20 customers standing a chance to be millionaires at the end of the promo.”

Verve card is a secure debit card that allows cardholders to conveniently meet their daily financial needs such as payment for goods and services, airtime recharge, bill payments, funds transfer, etc. Verve card is accepted across all ATMs, POS, Web and Mobile Platforms in Nigeria.

The promo is also opened to new verve cardholders as non-verve cardholders are encouraged to visit the nearest FirstBank branch today to pick up a Verve card and start getting rewarded!

Only recently, FirstBank – in partnership with Verve – rewarded over 2601 FirstBank verve cardholders with various prizes; including N20,000 cash prize, N10,000 cash prize, N10,000 worth of airtime; power generating sets, refrigerator, cooking gas, smart TV and the grand prize of a brand-new car to a lucky winner.

 

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Federal Government Orders University Vice-Chancellors To Reopen Schools, Begin Lectures Amid 7 Months Lecturers’ Strike

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The government issued the directive through the National Universities Commission (NUC), and a letter signed by its Director, Finance and Accounts, Sam Onazi, on behalf of the Executive Secretary of the commission, Professor Abubakar Rasheed.

The Nigerian government has directed vice-chancellors to re-open universities and allow students to resume lectures immediately.

The government issued the directive through the National Universities Commission (NUC), and a letter signed by its Director, Finance and Accounts, Sam Onazi, on behalf of the Executive Secretary of the commission, Professor Abubakar Rasheed.

 

The letter which The PUNCH obtained on Monday, was reportedly addressed to all vice-chancellors; Pro-Chancellors and chairmen of governing councils of federal universities.

 

“Ensure that ASUU members immediately resume/commence lectures; Restore the daily activities and routines of the various University campuses,” the letter partly reads.

We had reported that the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, ordered the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off its ongoing nationwide strike.

 

It reported that the umbrella body of the lecturers in public universities had declared a warning strike on February 14, to force the Nigerian Government to implement agreements it earlier signed with the union.

 

The agreement stipulated how university education would be funded for better improvement.

 

The strike has since rolled over and is now in its seventh month following the government’s failure to implement all the agreements.

 

Several meetings between ASUU and the Federal Government have ended in a deadlock.

 

Consequently, the Federal Government went to court to challenge the strike.

 

The government through its counsel, James Igwe, prayed the court for an interlocutory injunction restraining ASUU from taking further steps as regards the strike, pending the determination of the substantive suit.

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