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Constitution Review: CITN urges review of taxing powers

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The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) has urged the National Assembly to revisit and review division of taxing powers of federating states in the ongoing 1999 Constitutional amendment process.

Dame Gladys Simplice, President of  CITN, made the proposal in a memoranda to the National Assembly during the South-West zonal public hearing on the 1999 Constitutional Review in Lagos on Wednesday.

According to her, taxing powers of the state appears to be illusive and speculative under the current constitution.

Simplice recommended a separate state legislative list as modeled by the 1995 draft constitution to enumerate subject that states could legislate on, and to set out basis for taxes impossible, administrable and collectable by state.

She also recommended that Item 59 of the Exclusive Legislative List (Taxation of Income, Capital Gains and Stamp Duties), Item 13 (Copyright) and Item 62 (Trade and Commerce and in particular sub-items a, b, d, e and f) should be altered.

According to her, Item 43 (patents, trademarks, trade or business names, industrial designs and merchandise marks) should also be altered.

Simplice said this should be in favour of the state and local government areas in terms of legislation, imposition and administration of incidental taxes on the subject.

“An exclusive use of value added of states and local government for the autonomous revenue is highly recommended.

“The current constitutional justification of Valued Added Tax Act under Section 315 of the Constitution to the effect that it has covered fields with respect to sales related tax is misgiving.

“It is recommended that VAT should be made into concurrent legislative list with a different formula to wit:

“The Federal Government should legislate and administer inter-state, wholesale and export stage VAT while states should register and administer intra-state and retail stage VAT,” she said.

According to her, either way, collections of these revenues should be independent of use by each state and Federal Government.

She added that the present condition of the constitution which lumped taxing powers with legislative powers, gave erroneous impression that states did not have specific powers to impose and administer taxes except by relying on imaginary residual list.

The president noted that there were certain items in the exclusive and concurrent legislative list that the federal government should not have business dealing with, adding that this rendered states and local governments mere parasitic appendages of the  federal government.

“Considering peculiar needs and development of state and local government which are closer to the people, there is practical need to evolve expansive tax and revenue net. This current configuration of the constitution do not encourage this reality.

” Widening taxing powers of the states will encourage high commitment of fiscal mobilisation and enhance healthy development competitions among the federating units,” she said.

Also, Simplice said the constitution should ensure independence of the Auditor General of the Federation so as to ensure accountability, transparency and credibility.

She added that this should also be amended to empower the auditor general to direct refund of any fund from any individual deemed not to have been spent for the purposes it was meant.

The CITN president said there was need for a clear demarcation of exclusive federal and state legislative list.

“This will guarantee powers of the states and allow them to function without much dependence on the federal government,” she said.

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Business & Economy

Tinubu To Present 2024 Supplementary Budget To NASS

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President Bola Tinubu Presenting 2024 Budget Proposal to the Joint Session of National Assembly
President Bola Tinubu Presenting 2024 Budget Proposal to the Joint Session of National Assembly
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President Bola Tinubu will soon present the 2024 Supplementary Budget to the National Assembly (NASS).

“I submitted the last budget to you,” the President said when he addressed a joint sitting of the National Assembly on Wednesday.

“You expeditiously passed it. We are walking the talk. I will soon bring the Year 2024 (Supplementary) Appropriation Bill. That is just for your information,” the President said in his terse speech at the joint sitting to mark the Silver Jubilee Of Nigeria’s 4th Republic.

In his response, Senate President Godswill Akpabio, said, “Thank you, Mr President, we will be expecting the Supplementary Appropriation Bill of 2024 as soon as possible.”

Also, at the joint sitting which coincided with the first anniversary of the Tinubu administration, the President confirmed ‘Nigeria, we hail thee’ as the “latest national anthem”.

Tinubu said, “You sang out the latest national anthem, ‘Nigeria, we hail thee’. This is our diversity, representing all characters and how we blend to be brothers and sisters.”

The President pleaded with both the Senate and the House of Representatives to continue to collaborate and work together with the administration to build the country on the path of sustained progress and development.

“We have no other choice; it is our nation. No other institution or personality will help us unless we do it ourselves. No amount of aid from foreign countries or any other nation (will fix us), they take care of themselves first. Let us work together as we are doing to build our nation, not only for us but for generations unborn,” he said.

 

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We Have No Magic Wand, Tackling Inflation Will Take Time — Cardoso

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Yemi Cardoso,CBN Governor
Yemi Cardoso,CBN Governor
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The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso has urged the citizens to be patient over the fight against current inflation and hike in food items in the country.

Cardoso disclosed this while briefing journalists at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee, MPC, meeting in Abuja.

The CBN governor mentioned that there was no magic needed to solve inflation in Nigeria but rather patience.

Also, Cardoso noted that despite pressure from food inflation, the general inflation rate was “moderating”, pointing out that “the tools the Central Bank is using are working”.

He stated, “I have several times and I will say again, there is no magic wand. These are things that need to take their time.

“I am pleased and confident that we are beginning to get some relief and in another couple of months we will see the more positive outcomes from the Central Bank have been doing.”

He added, “The committee thus reiterated several challenges confronting the effective moderation of food inflation to include rising costs of transportation of farm produce, infrastructure- related constraints along the line of distribution network, security challenges in some food producing areas, and exchange rate pass-through to domestic prices for imported food items.

“The MPC urged that more be done to address the security of farming communities to guarantee improved food production in these areas.

“Members further observed the recent volatility in the foreign exchange market, attributing this to seasonal demand, a reflection of the interplay between demand and supply in a freely functioning market system.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria has also blamed the recent volatility of the country’s foreign exchange market on seasonal demand for dollars.

“Members further observed the recent volatility in the foreign exchange market, attributing this to seasonal demand, a reflection of the interplay between demand and supply in a freely functioning market system,” a communique issued by the committee on Tuesday stated.

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Port Harcourt Refinery Begins Full Operations Next Month

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Port Harcourt Refinery
Port Harcourt Refinery
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The 210,000-barrel-per-day Port Harcourt refinery is expected to commence operations by the end of July, following multiple delays.

National Public Relations Officer of the Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, revealed this new timeline on Monday. He noted that the refinery’s operation would boost economic activities, reduce petroleum product prices, and ensure an adequate supply.

In December last year, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, announced the mechanical completion and flare start-off of the Port Harcourt refinery, the largest in the region.

The refinery consists of two units: an older plant with a 60,000-barrel-per-day capacity and a newer plant with a 150,000-barrel-per-day capacity. The refinery was shut down in March 2019 for the first phase of repairs after the government enlisted Italy’s Maire Tecnimont as a technical adviser and appointed oil major Eni as a technical adviser.

On March 15, 2024, NNPC Limited’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, announced that the Port Harcourt refinery would begin operations in about two weeks. He made this statement during a press briefing following his appearance before the Senate Ad hoc committee investigating the various turnaround maintenance projects of the country’s refineries.

“We achieved mechanical completion in December,” Kyari stated. “We now have crude oil stocked in the refinery and are conducting regulatory compliance tests. The Port Harcourt refinery will start within two weeks.”

However, two months later, the refinery had yet to commence operations.

In an interview, IPMAN’s Ukadike emphasized that the work done on the refinery represented a complete overhaul rather than mere rehabilitation. He assured that every effort was being made to meet the July deadline.

Ukadike said, “When we visited, the MD informed us that the refinery was nearly ready and would start production by the end of July. The overhaul is extensive, with all the armoured cables replaced and everything almost brand new. The maintenance turnaround is massive, with work being done day and night. All hands are on deck to meet the target. By the end of July, the refinery should be operational.”

When asked about the government’s previous unfulfilled promises to restart the refinery, Ukadike acknowledged the delays but noted that no reasons were given for missing the last deadline in April

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