The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr Clem Agba has urged tax administrators in Sub-Saharan African countries to discover ways of effectively generating and improving tax revenues.
Agba gave the advice at the Seventh African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) General Assembly, organised by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on Tuesday in Lagos.
The forum had “Rethinking Revenue Strategies: The Human Face of Taxation’’, as its theme.
Agba, represented by the Statistician General of the Federation, Mr Semiu Adeniran said that statistics showed that sub Saharan African countries still mobilised less than 17 per cent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) without revenue.
According to him, this is below the recommended minimum level of 20 per cent by the UN, as necessary to achieving the sustainable development goals.
“According to the World Bank tax revenues, above 15 per cent of a country’s GDP is a key ingredient for economic growth and ultimately the option of revenue.
“Clearly, there is a gap between available tax resources and the need to improve, to foster sustainable economic growth and development, it’s imperative to restrategize and rethink concept and dynamics of tax and taxation.
“We must ask the relevant questions that hold the potentials to unlock for us, a new focus and a new trust that will fashion a pragmatic way forward,’’ he said.
He also agreed with the theme of the event, adding that human face of taxation must be a more sustainable and effective way of achieving tax reform and the optimisation of revenue and fostering voluntary compliance.
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State said the state was constantly on the lookout for ways of increasing its internally generated revenue without burdening the existing tax base.
“Over the past few years, and despite the documented global challenges, we have made notable developmental strides, relying mostly on internally generated revenue as a primary source of funding.
“We have amongst others, embarked on major transformational infrastructure projects, cutting across transport, health, education, agriculture, technology, and so on.
“These major infrastructural interventions are designed to improve the quality of life of our citizens and re-engineer the economic growth and development trajectory for improved productivity of our citizenry, which invariably improves our tax generating abilities,’’ he said.
The governor added that one of other critical areas of development had been in environmental protection, waste management and disposal, which had been prioritised with the hope to continue to build on.
Earlier, Mr Muhammad Nami, Executive Chairman, FIRS and President, Commonwealth Association of Tax Administration (CATA) said: “If we must transform our tax system and enhance revenue collection in Africa, there is need for government at all levels to engender public confidence and trust in government by providing value for taxpayers money.
“More importantly, the government should reconsider how projects are reported in the public space and the expected impact it will have on the tax paying culture.
“Such reports should be communicated to convey the idea that tax payer’s money is used to fund infrastructural projects,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the forum, which will end Nov. 4, has over 40 African countries participating in the deliberations.
The National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) says Online Gaming Operators in the country who are duly licensed and tax compliant are exempted from the new tax regime proposed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
A statement signed on Friday by the Director General of the commission, Mr Lanre Gbajabiamila, said that the proposed tax applied to remote gaming operators operating strictly outside the jurisdiction of the country.
FIRS on Wednesday said it was automating the administration of tax on online gaming, using Sentinal National Payment Gateway and Electronic Solution.
The Sentinal National Payment Gateway is a transaction processing system that enables integrated payment services providers to deduct taxes at the point of transaction and immediately remit to government’s treasury.
The FIRS notice stated that it was, however, not mandatory for online gaming operators offering online gaming services from outside Nigeria to be incorporated in Nigeria.
But that they must connect to the platform for the purposes of deducting tax from gaming transactions of players in Nigeria, and remitting directly to the government.
“Every operator offering online gaming services in Nigeria is required not later than Dec. 31, to connect to the Sentinal National Payment Gateway, where taxes will be deducted from the online gaming transactions and remitted directly to the relevant government treasury.
“All companies engaged in online gaming activities are to take note of this notice for compliance.
“The FIRS expects full compliance, as non-compliant operators shall be visited with sanctions in accordance with extant laws.
” Gbajabiamila, however, stated that the clarification became necessary to douse the panic and confusion already created in the gaming industry in the country regarding the propriety and justification of the new tax regime.
He said the NLRC, as the agency created by law to regulate in the country, needed to make the necessary clarifications and would not renege in carrying out its statutory assignment.
“The NLRC deeply regrets any misconceptions these publications have caused to our esteemed gaming operators and other stakeholders in the industry in Nigeria,” Gbajabiamila said.
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) says it has started deducting taxes at transaction points of online betting.
Mr Johannes Wojuola, Special Assistant on Media and Communication to the Executive Chairman of FIRS, Malam Muhammad Nami, made this known in Abuja on Wednesday.
He stated that the FIRS uses the Sentinal National Payment Gateway and Electronic Solution to charge and collect the tax.
The Sentinal National Payment Gateway is a transaction processing system that enables integrated payment services providers to deduct taxes at the point of transaction and immediately remit to government’s treasury.
“The deployment of Sentinal National Payment Gateway will simplify tax compliance for companies engaged in online betting activities,’’ Wojuola quoted Nami as saying.
He urged operators of online gaming services to connect to the Gateway not later than Dec. 31. Nami said while it was not mandatory for operators offering online gaming services from outside Nigeria to be incorporated in Nigeria, extant tax laws required that they connect to the Gateway.
“This is for the purposes of deducting taxes from the gaming transactions of players in Nigeria, and remitting same directly to government’s purse,’’ he said The FIRS boss stressed that Nigeria needed to innovate and harness technology for improved revenue generation from e-commerce as well as for accountability.
“The world is entering a challenging time where there is a strong obligation on governments to increase tax revenue as a percentage of GDP.
“This is to provide much-needed funding for local infrastructure and public services.
“Nigeria needs to innovate and harness technology to ensure that online transactions are taxed and accounted for.
“We have been very impressed with the Sentinal platform which allows us to collect tax revenues at source and also provides us with tax reporting and monitoring tools in real time.
“The system will also integrate with our own TaxPro Max portal,’’ Nami said.
On his part, the Director-General of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission of Nigeria, Mr Lanre Gbajabiamila, commended the adoption of the innovation.
Gbajabiamila described it as a “huge step’’ for taxation in the betting industry.
“Online betting continues to grow rapidly in Nigeria, particularly on mobile phones and other devices following the adoption of e-technologies.
“Sentinal National Payment Gateway is a huge step for us to receive betting duty at source.
“We welcome all responsible offshore gaming operators to apply for a Remote Operator Permit as long as they pass all the relevant criteria including full screening and responsible gaming practices.
“We are proud to be the first country to adopt the Sentinal System and we believe it will bring real national benefit to Nigeria,’’ Wojuola also quoted Gbajabiamila as having said.
Mr David Kicks, Chief Executive Officer of E-Technologies Global Ltd. and proprietor, Sentinal National Payment Gateway expressed excitement over the adoption of the system by the FIRS.
“Governments in rapidly-developing nations are struggling to keep pace with the evolution of e-commerce and the ascent of mobile transactions.
“We are thrilled that the Nigerian government has made the decision to integrate our Sentinal System, which empowers it to streamline online taxation.
“By understanding better how the payments ecosystem behaves and evolves, we can drive a paradigm shift towards a point of consumption tax methodology,’’ Wojuola quoted Kicks as saying.
The FIRS has cautioned Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government (MDAs) against appointing consultants and concessionaires to collect taxes due to the Federal Government or any of its agencies.
A statement issued on Thursday in Abuja by the Executive Chairman of FIRS, Muhammad Nami, said that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) remained the sole agency of government saddled with the responsibility of collecting tax.
Nami expressed worry that some MDAs engage in assessment, collection, accounting and enforcement of taxes and levies in their agreements with concessionaires and consultants.
“It has come to the notice of the FIRS that some MDAs are appointing concessionaires or consultants for the assessment, collection, accounting or enforcement of taxes and levies due to the Federal Government or any of its agencies.
“Some MDAs include such functions in their agreements with concessionaires or consultants,” he said.
Nami said that Section 68(2) of the Act establishing FIRS highlighted that “the primary agency responsible for administration, assessment, collection, accounting and enforcement of taxes and levies due to the Federal Government or any of its agencies is the FIRS.
“This is except as may be authorised by the Minister responsible for Finance by regulation as approved by the National Assembly,” he said.
According to him, while Section 12(4) of the FIRS Act provides that the Service may engage consultants, accountants or other agents to carry out certain functions on its behalf, the law has expressly prohibited the carrying out of assessing and collecting tax by consultants.
ImageTitleSummaryCategoriesAuthorDatecategories_hfilterAccording to him, the law provides that FIRS may appoint and employ such consultants, including tax consultants or accountants and agents to transact any business or do any act required to be transacted or done in the execution of its functions under this act.
“This is provided that such consultants shall not carry out duties of assessing and collecting tax or routine responsibilities of tax officials,” he said.
Nami said that MDAs that appoint consultants for tax assessment and collection were not just acting against the letters of the law, but committing offences punishable under the FIRS Act. “Appointment or authorisation of any person, other than by the FIRS to assess, collect, enforce or account for taxes constitutes an offence under Section 68(3) of the FIRS Act. Such appointment or authorisation is punishable, upon conviction, with fine imprisonment or both under Section 68(6) of the Act. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that some workers from various agencies of government recently complained of inconsistent tax deductions from their monthly salaries.
They urged the FIRS to wade in to address the issues to forestall further inconsistent deductions without explanation.
“This inconsistent deductions on my monthly salary for three months cannot continue without some explanations,’’ an anonymous civil servant said.
The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami says the mandate of the service is to collect taxes due to the federation and the Federal Government.
Nami, in a statement issued in Abuja by his Special Assistant on Media and Communication, Johannes Wojuola, said that FIRS did not grant tax waivers to any taxpayer in the country.
He was reacting to some media reports that some companies including Dangote, Sinotruck Limited, Lafarge, Honeywell, were granted tax waiver on pioneer status between 2019 and 2021 in the sum of N16 trillion by the FIRS and other agencies.
According toNami, FIRS does not have the power or responsibility of facilitating or implementing tax waivers to investors in Nigeria.
“There are relevant agencies of government that are charged with such responsibility,” he said.
Nami, however, said that the Service was not unmindful of the objectives of granting tax waivers to investors.
“This includes helping to grow local companies, stimulate economic growth and earn investors’ confidence.
“I am confident that the companies which are now enjoying tax breaks will eventually exit shortly and begin to pay taxes to the Federal Government.
“This is as it is currently being done by the companies that have equally enjoyed such tax breaks in the past and are now paying taxes in hundreds of billions of naira.
“Such companies will continue to pay taxes to the government so long as they remain in business.
” Nami further said that the companies enjoying the pioneer status would be exempted from paying only the direct taxes from their profits.
“But will continue to act as agents of collecting and remitting Indirect Taxes (VAT, WHT) in the ordinary course of their operations,’’ he said.
He emphasised that FIRS remained focused on the task of achieving its mandate of assessing, collecting and accounting for taxes due to the federation and the Federal Government.
“This task is challenging, more so at this time of global economic disruption occasioned by the Russia-Ukraine war and the pandemic.
“However, the management is steadfast in achieving the target set for it by the Federal Government.
“For instance, in 2021, the Service surpassed its target by collecting an unprecedented amount of N6.4 trillion in taxes.
“So far this year, the Service is poised to perform even better than its record for 2021,” he said.
Nami urged stakeholders to join hands with the Service to improve the nation’s economy.
NEWS ANALYSIS: Boosting Internal Revenue Generation in FCT
Mr Haruna Abdullahi, the Acting chairman FCT-IRS.
NEWS ANALYSIS: Boosting Internal Revenue Generation in FCT A News Analysis by Cecilia Ijuo, News Agency of Nigeria The desire of Mr Haruna Abdullahi, the Acting Chairman, Federal Capital Territory Internal Revenue Service(FCT-IRS), is to place FCT first on the national Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) chart.
Unarguably, taxation is one of the most practical and effective ways of generating revenue for national development.
Understanding the importance of taxation, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) report on tax policy for the developing countries asked: “Why do we have taxes?
“Until someone comes up with a better idea, taxation is the only practical means of raising the revenue to finance government spending on the goods and services that most of us demand.
” This assertion gives a complete cogent reason why taxation is so fundamental to development.
No wonder the Nigerian government directs states to improve their tax net to strengthen the dwindling oil revenue.
There is no doubt that the Federal Capital Territory Internal Revenue Service(FCT-IRS) understands this reality following its recent drive to widen its tax net to make FCT first on the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) chart.
The service, which commenced operation in 2018 following the enactment of the FCT-IRS Act 2015, has progressed from tax revenue generation of about N60 billion in 2018 to more than N100 billion in 2021. In 2021, the FCT came third on the national IGR chart after Lagos and Rivers and it is determined to exceed its 2022 target of N200 billion to about N500 billion.
The FCT-IRS Acting Chairman Haruna Abdullahi recently said that the service was on an aggressive drive to surpass its 2022 target to as much as N500 billion.
He said the service had embarked on various forms of reform ranging from leveraging technology, staff training, enlightenment campaigns and direct engagement in the form of town hall meetings, among others.
“We are hopeful to achieve far beyond our target of N200 billion to as much as N500 billion because as we speak, we have additional people who have come into the tax net significantly.
“Also, through the engagement we are having with the media and the public, we believe people will begin to see payment of taxes as a duty and when that is achieved, N500 billion will be insignificant.
“So, we are putting processes in place and we are simplifying them as well as building internal structure for sustainability.
“We are equally engaged in training and re-training of our members of staff and hopefully in the next one year, there will be no problem of human capacity gap,” he said.
Abdullahi said that the huge economic activities that take place in the FCT was an added advantage for the service to generate huge income.
Speaking on the use of technology as a formidable tool to achieve its mandate, Abdullahi, said the service had begun to record tremendous success through its adoption.
“As a service, we recognise the importance of IT solutions hence the automation of our taxpayer services, tax management and administrative processes.
“Our progress has been incremental in our quest to achieve a full-blown digital system.
“We have provided a self-service portal for taxpayers to generate Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TIN), validate and verify TIN via USSD, mobile applications, and the web in addition to filing tax returns.
“This has lessened the burden of going to tax offices and has reduced human error and processing timelines.
“The service has fully integrated and adopted the Joint Tax Board (JTB) TIN for all her taxpayers to ensure uniformity of standards.
“Furthermore, to simplify the revenue remittance process, the payment gateway enjoyed by taxpayers is the Remita platform which allows seamless inflow,’’ he said.
On efforts to ensure seamless engagement with taxpayers, Abdullahi said, “People can visit our website or social media platforms for information on tax returns and other tax matters.
“For instance, our USSD Code for Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).
is *7737*22# which can be verified using a registered phone number, NIN or BVN.
“Also our website is https:.
ng while the number to dial to lodge tax complaints is 0700 220 0002. “So, with these avenues among others, people do not need to come to our offices to get their queries responded to.
“We are also opening up other platforms to engage with younger people”.
Speaking at a recent tax seminar tagged: “Reviving the Culture of Filing Tax returns’’, Abdullahi said the service was working toward reviving filing of tax returns in the FCT.
He said filing of tax returns was critical to providing finance for the government to deliver public services that were vital to sustainable development in the FCT.
On efforts being made by the service to check fraudulent practices with regards to revenue compliance, the acting chairman said the unethical conduct of some tax advisors who encourage tax agents to doctor records or refuse to make available documents needed to have a fair assessment of taxes was disturbing.
He said that the service also observed the worrying trend of engagement of unprofessional consultants by taxpayers to prepare and file returns with seemingly very wealthy individuals being encouraged to file as low as N1million to N2 million as annual incomes.
“The service would like to establish a strong enforcement regime to discourage the practice of tax evasion through such ridiculous tax returns filings.
“As the service strives to map out its enforcement strategies for tax evaders, we are not relenting in our efforts in creating an institutional framework for stability to improve collections at this stage of our journey and beyond,’’ he said.
While buttressing Abdullahi’s stance on tax compliance, Mrs Ngozika Jipreze, the Director Legal Services, FCT-IRS, in a paper presentation on tax enforcement, said non-compliance often undermined government’s ability to generate sufficient revenue for socio-economic development.
She said that the service was set up to ensure compliance, prosecute and recover all outstanding tax liabilities arising from self-assessment, tax audit, tax investigation and demand notices, among others, pursuant to Sections 8, 22,35, 36, 37 of the FCT-IRS Act, 2015. Speaking on the powers of the FCT-IRS, Jipreze said that Section 8(1)(C) of the FCT-IRS Act empowers the service to “assess account and enforce payment of taxes as may be due to the FCT.
” She said that enforcement could be carried out on all taxes and levies collectible by the FCT-IRS as provided for in the first schedule of the FCT-IRS Act. The director said that the service would not fail to work with the Nigeria Police Force, and other law enforcement agencies to ensure tax compliance.
She said that under Section 38 of the Act establishing FCT-IRS, “the service may co-opt the assistance and cooperation of the Department of State Services(DSS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps(NSCDC),among others, to ensure compliance.
” Corroborating FCT-IRS acting chairman’s remarks at the tax seminar held in Abuja, Mr Mark Dike, a retired Director in charge of Tax Policy and Legislation in the Federal Inland Revenue Service(FIRS) decried Nigeria’s poor tax to Gross Domestic Product(GDP).
Dike, who is also former President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, said that Nigeria’s tax-to GDP ratio had been in the range of 6 per cent in recent years.
“In comparison, the average for about 30 African countries range from 15.1 per cent in 2010 to 16.5 per cent in 2018. “World Bank recommends 15 per cent tax to GDP ratio as a key ingredient for economic growth and ultimately poverty reduction,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the FCT-IRS was established with the enactment of the FCT-IRS Act of 2015. The service took over the administration of Personal Income Tax from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in January 2018. It is the only “State” Internal Revenue Service in Nigeria that is established by the National Assembly and it is empowered to administer tax and non-tax revenues accruable to the FCT.
The Service is also responsible for the coordination of collection of all other revenues accruable to the FCT among other things.
Senate to reduce 6trn proposed import waiver by 50%
Senate to reduce 6trn proposed import waiver by 50%
By Kingsley Okoye
Abuja, Sept 14,2023 The Senate will reduce the import duties waivers proposed for the N19.76trillion 2023 budget with attendant deficit of N12.4trillion.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Sen. Solomon Adeola made this known in Abuja on Tuesday, at an interactive session on the says it will reduce the N6 trillion proposed as import waiver for companies in the 2023- 2025 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper(FSP) with revenue generating agencies.
Adeola said the reduction became necessary, given the projected deficit of N12.4 trillion in the 2023 budget estimates and the current dwindling revenue profile of the nation.
Adeola said conscious effort must be made to reduce the growing budget deficits, adding that borrowing trends can not be allowed to continue unchecked.
He said there was an urgent need to look inward towards increased revenue generation and blocking of leakages.
“About six trillion was provided as waiver for companies in the 2023 proposal, but we should reduce it by 50 per cent.
“I don’t think we can accommodate that, we need to reduce the six trillion waiver by 50 per cent,” Adeola said.
Adeola also urged the Ministry of Finance to place 63 Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs) on cost of collection to fund their expenditures with immediate effect.
This, he said, would generate more revenue to fund the deficit envisaged in 2023 budget.
According to him, placing the agencies on cost of collection would spur the GOEs to collect more, because the more they generate, the more they receive .
Adeola also called for a review of pioneer legislation status on tax of some companies in the last five years.
The Minster of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed in her presentation on overview of 2023-2025 FSP disclosed that the Federal Government revenue for 2023 was projected at N6.34 trillion.
According to her, N373.17 billion would be generated from oil sources, while the balance of N5.97trillion would be earned from non-oil sources.
She also said the budget deficit for 2023 was projected to be N12.41 trillion, while the federal government’s 2023 aggregate expenditures was projected to be N19.76 trillion.
Responding to questions from senators, she said that it was the assumption of government that fuel subsidy would be exited by June 2023. She, however, expressed hope that the parliament would see a better way of ensuring exist of fuel subsidy.
She said the deficit envisaged in the budget was a concerned and debt serving was consuming a chunk of the nation’s revenue.
Ahmed said there was need to improve the revenue and reduce leakages inherent in the system.
“One of the ways to increase our revenue, is to strengthen our monetary generating enterprises and to provide real sanctions to defaulters based on the fiscal responsibility act.
On issuing tax credit to some companies and waivers .
She said:” Tax credit are issued only when companies construct projects and the projects are certified and certificate issued by the Federal Ministry of Works.
She also said that some of the waivers are backed by laws enacted by the legislature , adding that a review of the waivers would require an amendment to such laws.
The Controller -General of Nigeria Customs Service(NCS) retired Col. Hamid Alli in his presentation said NCS was working on implementing the collection of telecommunication tax in 2023 to boost the nation’s revenue.
He said the NCS projected a target of N2.8 trillion revenue collection for 2023, N3.5trillon for 2024 and N3.75trillion for 2025. The Chairman Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) Muhammad Nami , told the committee that tax credit was an important innovation of government that has yielded positive results from Sept 2019 when it was introduced through Executive order 007 by President Muhamnadu Buhari He urged the committee not to legislate against it as it was only given to companies with evidence of projects execution.
He informed the committee that out of the N6.08trillion projected revenue from January to July 2022, FIRS generated N5.59trillion and assured that the N10.4trillion projected for the year , would be achieved News Agency of Nigeria reports reports that revenue generating agencies expected to appear at the five-day programme to make presentation on their revenue projections for the 2023-2025 MTEF-FSP includes the Central Bank of Nigeria,(CBN),Nigeria Port Authority, Amongst others.
The Postmaster-General (PMG) Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) Dr Adebayo Adewusi, has called for an intervention from the Federal Government to save the service from shutting down.
Adewusi said this at the hearing on Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Finance in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said that the NIPOST revenue generation has gone down drastically with the advent of COVID-19 in 2020 as it affected 60 to 65 per cent revenue of the organisation which was from exporting mails.
“When you take half of our revenue, that you are saying in essence is that we should shut down business; the truth of the matter is that, our cost of operation is higher than our revenue.
“last year, we had a deficit of about N1.7 billion; the way we are today, NIPOST is in comatose, it is just a matter of time before NIPOST dies if no intervention is made,’’ he said.
He said that as a result reforms made in 2020, a major NIPOST source of revenue was transferred to Federal Inland Revenue (FIRS) saying that NIPOST was now looking for alternatives.
The Deputy Chairman of the Committee Rep. Abdulallhi Saidu (APC-Niger) said that he was aware of the difficulties faced by NIPOST.
He said that the Finance Act 2020 stated that, partially funded agencies like NIPOST should pay 50 per cent of their revenue into government coffers.
“For us not to be seen breaching the law, it is expected that we make an exceptional case for NIPOST, am aware you have a peculiar and difficult case, but we have a law, the Finance Act,’’ he said.
Saidu recommended that the finance committee, the supervising committee and management of NIPOST should work together, explore their networks to get NIPOST back on its feet again.
Earlier, the Registrar of the National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB) Prof. Ifeoma Isiugo-Abanihe, told the committee that the board was in need of a bailout.
She said that compared to WAEC and NECO, the number of candidates who sit for NABTEB are very few and some state governments who sponsored candidates from their states are owing.
Isiugo-Abanihe said that the exams are conducted on credit for the state governments involved out of hardship and the need to encourage them and the students to take the exams.
The registrar said that monies released to run the agency was barely enough for the board to mobilise and organise examinations annually.
The chairman of the committee ruled that NABTEB should mobilise and get more candidates to take the exams to increase income while trying to recover all liabilities before the end of September.
He said that if the liabilities were not recovered, NABTEB’s account should be blocked and monies recovered and paid into government coffers.
In a related development, the committee resolved to carry out a status inquiry on the accounts of the National Information Technology Agency (NITDA) The resolution followed discrepancies observed in NITDA records and records made available by the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) on amount remitted into government coffers by NITDA.
The Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) on Thursday certified 150 Business Development Service Providers (BDSPs) to improve the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in Nigeria.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), Hajia Mariam Katagum, at the virtual presentation in Lagos, said the certification programme for trained and practicing BDSPs was important for the continuous growth of MSMEs in the country.
Katagum, represented by Mr Adewale Bakare, Director, Industry Development, FMITI, said the Ministry was in the forefront of efforts to establish a platform for enthroning professionalism with the BDSP ecosystem in Nigeria.
She said it was agreed by the ministry and other relevant stakeholders within the MSME sub-sector in Nigeria that only certified BDSPs would be allowed to deliverer capacity building, mentorship, counselling and other forms of BDS to MSMEs in Nigeria.
She added that SMEDAN would post the names of the second batch of the certified Business Development Service Providers on its website.
Katagum stated that there would be posting of other social media handles and special advertisements in major newspapers in Nigeria for all current and potential users of BDSPs in Nigeria.
She urged certified BDSPs to use the opportunity to solve the challenges comfronting MSMEs in Nigeria.
Director-General, SMEDAN, Mr Olawale Fasanya, said the certification would ensure that both existing and potential BDSPs had the opportunity to prove their technical competence towards supporting MSMEs in Nigeria.
“The posting on other social media handles and special advertisements in major newspapers in Nigeria for all current and potential users of BDSPs in Nigeria to draw from will be effected as soon as possible.
“In addition, to show commitment and sincerity of purpose, the Agency will ensure that, going forward, being a certified BDSP will now be one of the criteria for bidding for capacity building programmes in the Agency,” he said.
He revealed that SMEDAN in its determination to address the challenges confronting the MSMEs in Nigeria in a holistic manner,was implementing the One Local government One Product (OLOP) initiative in one hundred and nine (109) senatorial districts in the country.
“This ambitious effort of the Agency is based on the successful implementation of the pilot phase of the OLOP programme in Katsina, Kaduna, FCT, Osun and Anambra States three years ago.
“The intervention activities under OLOP, among others, include access to workspace, equipment support, access to working capital, and capacity building,” he said.
He added that in the same vein, the agency was implementing the Conditional Grant Scheme (CGS) for micro enterprises in Nigeria.
“This programme is aimed at formalising a majority of the nano and micro enterprises that are mostly operating in the informal sector.
“This programme, which involves capacity building, registration of the micro enterprises with the CAC, provision of micro insurance, opening of bank accounts and provision of grants (N50,000 each) has so far been implemented in 22 States where over 40,000 entrepreneurs have been impacted,” he said.
Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Chistianah Adeyeye, said NAFDAC had created 50 per cent discount for MSME registration to encourage more participants in the profession.
Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Muhammad Nami, represented by the Director of State, FIRS, Mr Abubakar Muhammed, commended the effort of the awardees and assured them of the service’s continuous collaboration.
He said the service had introduced a lot of polices and platforms such as 10 per cent discount for about 20 million business development services.
The Director, Enterprise Development Centre, Pan Africa Atlantic University, Dr Peter Bamkole, commended SMEDAN for its professionalism, saying that the network would ease challenges encountered by MSMEs in Nigeria.
He urged participants and awardees to operate with due diligent, adding that they would be recertified every three years for proper checks and balances.
The Secretariat of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) has condoled with the Management and Staff Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) over the demise of Mr Adams Kudu, its Coordinator for Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara.
PEBEC message is contained in a statement by Dr Jumoke Oduwole, its Secretary and Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business on Monday in Abuja.
Oduwole described Kudu as a consistent high performing Reform Champion, known for his dedication to the implementation of critical reforms such as the electronic tax filing.
“He was a dutiful officer who was readily available to support the activities of the secretariat across the country, even at short notice.
He will surely be missed by all.
“We celebrate the life he lived and the impact he made during his life time.
“We pray that the Almighty God grants him eternal rest and peace at his bosom, and to grant his former colleagues at the FIRS the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss,” she said.