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Import Ban On 41 Items Attracted $10bn Investment – Emefiele



…As FIRS realises N3.2trn in 10 months

By Kauthar Anumba-Khaleel, Abuja

The Governor of Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele has said that Nigeria has attracted investment worth $10 billion following the import prohibition policy imposed on 41 items.

Emefiele revealed this yesterday at an interactive session on the 2018 budget estimates and 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework/Fiscal Strategy Paper between the members of the National Economic Committee and joint House Committee on Finance, Appropriation; Aids, Loans & Debt Management and Budget Research.

Emefiele, who was represented by the deputy governor, operations, Adebayo Adelabu, noted that the key fiscal policies introduced by the current administration which are aimed at stabilizing the economy, have resulted into reduction in inflation rate from 18.9% to a little above 15%.

He stated that some companies established have commenced local manufacturing of some of the prohibited items in the country including building materials such as times, granite, marble, among others, as well as generate employment for Nigerians across the country.

The CBN chief also expressed optimism that the N305/$ official exchange rate and N360/$ at the parallel market have been stable over the past few months, adding that the intervention of the apex bank in key sectors of the economy including agriculture, solid minerals, manufacturing sectors and petroleum sector has yielding positive results.

According to him, the apex bank and Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) agreed to remit the proceed from the foreign exchange transaction into the Federation Account for the three tiers of government to share, and reduce budget deficit.

On the bailout, Emefiele informed that the apex bank does not give bailout facility to sub-national government as stipulated in the CBN Act, 2007, adding that the intervention fund given to critical sectors of the economy at single rate was channeled through development financial institutions (FDIs) since they cannot afford the high interest rate from commercial banks.

On his part, the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Tunde Fowler disclosed that total sum of N3.233 trillion was realized over the past 10 months, an amount that represented 79.35 percent of its collection target for 2017 fiscal year.

Fowler explained that FIRS justification for 2018-2020 revenue framework was based on the Federal Government Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

He explained that the Service has deployed technology to ramp-up additional revenue especially as its tax assessment between 2013 and 2015 revealed N1 trillion after its tax audit exercise.

Explaining further, Fowler said the exercise had already yielded over N3.7 billion in collection of taxes into the federal government coffers, noting that the successes were as a result of the various measures which have been adopted by the service to ensure increased collections of federal government dues in the corporate and individual taxes.

While listing the measures which he said will remain relevant in achieving better collections in 2018, the FIRS chief added that the new modalities structured for optimal access of accruable due from the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme had yielded over $54 million (N16.73 billion) and N207.41 billion) totalling about N16.40 billion at the federal level only.

“We have stepped up enforcement activities against task defaulters on different fronts these include placing non-compliance stickers on business premises of tax payers who have back-logged of taxes owed and have not made any move to liquidate such.

“We have adopted substitution as an enforcement tool by putting a lien on the bank account of errand tax payers. This in my view will serve as deterrent to defaulters and consequently increase tax collection.

“FIRS has so far collected over N6 billion and 4.2 million dollars (over N1.4billion) totalling over N7.7 billion. This drive is continuous and will be unrelenting going forward,’’ he said.

He further disclosed that 34 companies will no longer enjoy pioneer status as from 31st December, 2017.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary of Federal Ministry of Finance, Mahmud Dutse solicited the cooperation of the Legislature towards boosting the 20% independent revenue from government owned enterprises, adding that plans are underway to section Chief Executives of agencies who fail to comply with the policy.

Representing the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, Dutse also stressed the need for the review of the Nigeria’s tax regime which he observed is one of the lowest in the world and less than one-third of Africa’s ratio.

He added that the only proposal for tax review applies to excise duties on alcohol and cigarette in line with ECOWAS tariff policy.

In his remarks, NNPC’ director, Corporate Planning & Strategy, Bala Wunti, expressed optimism that the 2.3mbpd oil production and $45 per barrel are realizable and assured that the negotiation between Federal Government and Niger Delta stakeholders is yielding positive results.

Wunti informed that Nigeria recorded 18% over-performance in the 2017 crude oil benchmark based on improved dynamics in supply and demand at the international market, just as he expressed regrets over shutting down of major export infrastructure including Trans-Forcados Pipeline.

Earlier, the Minister of State for Budget & National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, explained that total oil production is pegged at 2.51 million barrels per day while budget oil production volume net incremental was pegged at 2.3mbpd; $45 oil benchmark; while exchange rate was pegged at N305/$ for 2018 fiscal year.





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