The strong recovery of the Seychelles economy has continued in 2022.
However, there are downside risks to the outlook due to the uncertainty surrounding the global environment; The government made significant progress in implementing policies under the EFF and restored macroeconomic balance, met all quantitative and indicative targets for the 3rd review under the program, and made significant progress on structural issues; As a small island state vulnerable to external shocks and climate change, it remains critical for the Seychelles to maintain the build-up of shock buffers while protecting the most vulnerable people.
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Calixte Ahokpossi, Head of Mission for Seychelles, visited Victoria from 22 September to 5 October 2022 to hold discussions for the third review of Seychelles' economic and financial program backed by the Extended Facility Facility (EFF) Arrangement.
At the end of the mission, Mr. Ahokpossi issued the following statement: “The Seychelles economy has continued its strong recovery in 2022, as tourism activity accelerated its recovery despite a challenging global environment.
Real GDP growth is projected at 10.6%, largely based on the rebound in tourism, before moderating to 5.4% in 2023.
This outlook is subject to downside risks given the challenging international environment.
“Inflation moderated to 2.8% (year-on-year) at the end of August and is projected to average 3.0% in 2022, down from 9.8% in 2021.
The lagged effect of the appreciation of the rupee in 2021 helped absorb pressures emanating from higher international prices in 2022.
Inflation is projected to average 4.5 percent in 2023.
“The primary fiscal deficit is expected to be contained at 1.1 percent of GDP by the end of 2022, declining from 3 percent in 2021 and 14.7 percent in 2020.
The target Deficit in 2022 exceeds the program's initial projection of 1.4 percent of GDP, due to lower current and capital spending .
The primary fiscal balance is projected to reach a surplus of 1.1% of GDP in 2023.
“A welcome package of temporary support measures is being put in place which, along with other social protection programs, should help cushion the effects of sudden increases in the prices of raw materials in most people.
“Debt vulnerabilities have been reduced substantially, helped by the strong rebound in tourism, the successful implementation of the Responsibility Management Operation in 2021, the appreciation of the rupee and ambitious fiscal consolidation.
The debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to decline to around 68% of GDP in 2022 from 76% of GDP in 2021 and 89% of GDP in 2020.
Air Seychelles' contingent liabilities have been significantly reduced since the company passed to be under administration and its debt was restructured with a significant haircut.
“The government has made significant progress in implementing the IMF-supported program and restoring macroeconomic balances.
All quantitative and indicative objectives of the program were met by the end of June 2022.
The broader program of structural reforms is progressing well.
“ The government is committed to strengthening governance and combating corruption.
In this regard, the authorities are making efforts to improve the transparency of the beneficial ownership database and ensure the accuracy of the information collected.
““The Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) has maintained an appropriately accommodative monetary policy.
The CBS is ready to act if inflationary pressures materialize.
The CBS will continue its efforts to strengthen Seychelles' monetary policy framework and closely monitor the soundness of the financial sector to bolster banks' ability to support the recovery.
“As a small island state, Seychelles' open economy remains highly vulnerable to external shocks and climate change.
Maintaining the buildup of shock absorbers, while protecting the most vulnerable portion of the population, remains critical in today's global environment.
Such a strategy requires the continuation of prudent macroeconomic policies and the safeguarding of international reserves.
"The team would like to thank the Seychelles authorities for the open dialogue and their close collaboration."
The IMF team met with President Ramkalawan, Minister of Finance, National Planning and Trade Hassan, Seychelles Central Bank Governor Abel, Opposition Leader Pillay, and other senior government officials, as well as private sector representatives.
After a sharp contraction due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Namibian economy has started to recover.
Real GDP growth of 3% is expected in 2022 and 3.2% in 2023; preserving macroeconomic stability, promoting structural reforms and protecting the most vulnerable is key to fostering inclusive growth led by the private sector and reducing unemployment and inequality; Advancing the authorities' fiscal consolidation strategy is crucial to preserving debt sustainability.
A team of International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff, led by Ms. Giorgia Albertin, IMF Mission Chief for Namibia, conducted a virtual mission from September 20 to October 5, 2022 to conduct the discussions of the 2022 Article IV consultation with Namibia.
At the conclusion of the mission, Ms. Albertin made the following statement: “After a sharp contraction due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Namibian economy has started to recover.
Real GDP growth reached 2.7 percent in 2021 as mining activity picked up and tertiary sector activities began to recover.
The recovery strengthened in the first half of 2022, thanks to sustained growth in mining and stronger manufacturing activity.
No new cases of COVID-19 were recently reported.” “Inflationary pressures have increased as higher international oil and food prices, due to the war in Ukraine, have passed through to the domestic economy.
Average headline inflation rose to 5.6 percent in August, reflecting rising food and transportation prices.
“Real GDP growth of 3 percent in 2022 and 3.2 percent in 2023 is expected, supported by strong diamond, gold and uranium production, and recovering tourism.
Average inflation would rise to 6.4 percent in 2022 and start to moderate in 2023.
The current account deficit would remain large, financed by oil and gas FDI inflows and one-time transactions.
The fiscal deficit is expected to narrow, supported by strengthening tax revenues and fiscal consolidation measures.
"Collateral effects of the war in Ukraine, the slowdown in the world economy and the weakening of non-oil commodity prices could further exacerbate inflation, worsen imbalances and undermine the recovery."
“Preserving macroeconomic stability, promoting structural reforms and protecting the most vulnerable is key to fostering inclusive, private-sector-led growth and reducing unemployment and inequality.” “The implementation of the authorities' fiscal consolidation strategy is crucial to preserve debt sustainability.
It is key to contain the salary mass, advance in the reform of state companies and strengthen the tax administration.
In parallel, it is important to preserve social spending and public investment that supports growth and mitigate the impact of rising food and fuel prices on the poorest.
The strengthening of the public financial framework will support fiscal consolidation”.
“The Central Bank of Namibia has gradually increased its policy rate, following the tightening of monetary policy by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).
As inflationary pressures build, keeping the policy rate in line with the SARB rate and an adequate level of reserves will support the currency peg and anchor inflation.
Strengthening the resilience of the financial sector and managing macrofinancial risks will support financial stability."
“Structural reforms to support economic diversification and improve productivity are making progress.
Improving the business climate, fostering access to finance, strengthening governance and reducing skills mismatches are key to fostering growth.
Burundi's economy remains resilient, although it faces headwinds from the effects of the war in Ukraine.
Real GDP is projected to continue growing in 2022 and beyond.
Inflationary pressures remain elevated, driven by rising food and energy prices; The current account deficit is expected to widen in 2022, mainly due to higher import bills for fuels, consumer goods, and capital goods.
Foreign exchange reserves have fallen.; The fiscal deficit is estimated to have narrowed in 2021/22, driven by lower current spending, especially transfers, and strong revenue collection, supported by revenue measures.
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team led by Ms. Mame Astou Diouf, Chief of Mission for Burundi, visited Burundi from September 26-30, 2022 to discuss recent macroeconomic and policy developments and engage with new leadership in the Ministry of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning and the central bank (Bank of the Republic of Burundi).
At the end of the mission, Ms. Diouf issued the following statement: “IMF staff had productive discussions with the authorities on recent macroeconomic and policy developments and the authorities' key policy priorities, including how to address the persistent fuel shortages and food inflation.
“Burundi's economy remains resilient despite headwinds from the effects of the war in Ukraine.
Higher commodity prices (food and fuel) have increased inflation (19.6% at the end of August 2022), while aggravating the country's vulnerable external position.
Foreign exchange reserves have fallen to 1.6 months of imports at the end of June 2022 from 2.2 months at the end of 2021, as the increase in the import bill is not matched by capital inflows.
Fuel shortages persist, despite an increase in imported volume.
However, economic activity continues to recover from the impact of COVID-19, with agricultural production supported by government efforts to improve farmers' access to better quality fertilizers and seeds, public investment projects boosting activities of the secondary sector and services that benefit from travel facilitation.
restrictions “In the medium term, GDP growth is expected to strengthen as the effects of COVID-19 diminish and the investment projects and reforms underway begin to generate the expected impact.
Increased foreign financing resulting from Burundi's reintegration into the international community would support GDP growth.
However, there are downside risks to this outlook, including due to uncertainties about the war in Ukraine and the end of the pandemic.
“Accommodative monetary policy has supported the economy during shocks.
However, caution is required as inflation has remained high and inflationary pressures from the war in Ukraine are persistent.
“External sustainability challenges have worsened, and the current account deficit is projected to widen to 14.9 percent of GDP in 2022, mainly due to higher imports of fuels, consumer goods, and capital goods.
The current account deficit, combined with record FDI and other external inflows, would continue to put pressure on foreign exchange (FX) reserves.
“The fiscal deficit was reduced to 4.1% of GDP in 2021/22 (7.8% in 2020/21), thanks to a reduction in current spending, especially transfers, and strong revenue collection, in particular a higher income tax collection supported by recent revenue measures.
The execution of investments was accelerated.
Public finances have been resilient, despite the shock to commodity prices.
The authorities have ensured a transfer of global prices to local ones, even for regulated prices, thus containing subsidies.
However, the government decided to waive certain taxes on petroleum products, which has contributed to a drop in tax revenues from these products.
“Public investment is projected to increase further in 2022/23 and in the medium term, leading to a higher fiscal deficit in 2022/23.
Strong donor funding and the impact of recent revenue measures and reform plans to improve public financial management and spending efficiency would help contain the fiscal deficit in the medium term.
“The authorities implemented various measures to contain the secondary effects of the war in Ukraine.
In the first half of 2022, they used part of their SDR allocation (SDR 57 million) to ease import restrictions due to limited foreign exchange availability.
They began to intervene in the fuel sector with direct fuel imports to circumvent fuel import bottlenecks and lifted import restrictions on corn, seeds, flour, sugar, and cement to alleviate domestic shortages.
However, the unintended effects of such measures may require mitigation.
“Going forward, Burundi will continue to grapple with the challenges of balancing priority development and social spending with the need to maintain macroeconomic stability and address debt vulnerabilities and weak external position.
A multi-pronged policy recalibration is essential, including (i) addressing inflationary pressures with a careful recalibration of the current accommodative monetary policy stance, (ii) revenue-driven fiscal consolidation and prudent borrowing to reduce vulnerabilities debt while creating fiscal space for development and social spending; and (iii) a recalibrated exchange rate policy and modernized monetary policy framework, while attuned to exchange rate-related vulnerabilities in the financial sector.
Accelerated implementation of reforms to alleviate inclusive growth bottlenecks, including improving competitiveness and improving the governance framework, will be key.
“The IMF remains committed to supporting the efforts of the Burundi authorities for a prosperous future, including through a Fund-supported program requested by the authorities at the end of the staff visit, macroeconomic surveillance, and capacity building.
“The mission met with HE President Evariste Ndayishimiye; HE Prime Minister Gervais Ndirakobuca; a delegation from Parliament; HE Audace Niyonzima, Minister of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning (MFBPE); the Hon. Mr. Ibrahim Uwizeye, Minister of Hydraulics, Energy and Mines; Mr. Dieudonné Murengerantwari, Governor of the Bank of the Republic of Burundi (BRB); Mr. Désiré Musharitse, First Deputy Governor of the BRB; Mrs. Francine Inarukundo, Permanent Secretary of the MFBPE.
The mission also met with other government and BRB officials, as well as representatives of commercial banks, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and the donor community.
“The mission would like to take this opportunity to warmly thank the Burundian authorities for their hospitality and for their cooperation and fruitful and open discussions.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s Executive Board has approved a new emergency financing instrument for countries suffering from acute food insecurity.
Ms Kristalina Georgieva, the Managing Director, IMF announced this in a statement obtained from the IMF website NAN) in Abuja on Saturday.
“I am very pleased to announce that the IMF’s Executive Board today approved a new Food Shock Window under our emergency financing instruments, the Rapid Credit Facility and Rapid Financing Instrument.
” The new financing window will provide additional access to emergency financing to countries that have urgent balance of payments needs and are suffering from acute food insecurity, a sharp food imports shock, or from a cereals export shock.
” The new financing window will be open for one year.
” Georgieva said for some time now, the combination of climate shocks, the pandemic and regional conflicts had disrupted food production and distribution, driving up the cost of feeding people and families.
She said Russia’s war in Ukraine had pushed the price of food and fertilisers even higher, thereby, hurting food importers and some exporters.
The managing director said as a result, a food crisis was spreading around the globe with a record 345 million people whose lives and livelihoods were in immediate danger from acute food insecurity.
She said the IMF, working with partner institutions, was actively contributing to the international response to food insecurity, notably by providing policy advice and financial assistance.
Georgieva said the newly established Food Shock Window would provide an additional line of defence after grants and concessional financing.
According to her, we have worked extensively and expeditiously with our members and staff to finalise the proposal for the new Food Shock Window.
“At a time of such need and suffering, I am grateful to our membership and proud that the fund has come together and responded so swiftly.
“We have worked with our members to secure additional channelling of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) which can help provide support to low‑income countries through this new food shock window.
“With this new financing window, the IMF will be providing additional assistance to help people in vulnerable countries deal with one of the worst crises of all: hunger ”
Prime Minister Liz Truss has insisted the Government’s tax-cutting measures are the “right plan” in the face of rising energy bills and to get the economy growing.
It should get the economy growing in spite of market turmoil sparked by the Chancellor’s mini-budget.
In her first public comments since the mini-budget market chaos, Ms Truss on Thursday defended Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s measures, insisting urgent action was needed.
She admitted that the Government’s decisions have been controversial.
Truss told BBC radio: “We had to take urgent action to get our economy growing, get Britain moving and also deal with inflation.
“Of course, that means taking controversial and difficult decisions but I am prepared to do that as Prime Minister because what is important to me is that we get our economy moving.
“We make sure that people are able to get through this winter and we are prepared to do what it takes to make that happen’’.
She said the mini-budget was the right plan, in spite of mounting calls including from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a U-turn on some of the policies.
The policies were announced last Friday after the pound sunk to a record low against the U.
S. dollar on Monday.
On Wednesday, the Bank of England launched an emergency government bond-buying programme to prevent borrowing costs from spiralling out of control and stave off a “material risk to UK financial stability”.
The Bank announced it was stepping in to buy up to 65 billion pounds ($70 billion) worth of government bonds known as gilts at an urgent pace.
After fears over the Government’s economic policies sent the pound tumbling and sparked a sell-off in the gilts market, which threatened to spark the collapse of some UK pension funds.
The FTSE 100 Index has also been hit by market volatility amid the bond sell-off and wider global recession fears, falling by nearly two per cent in early trading on Thursday after a rollercoaster ride on Wednesday.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank Group, World Food Programme, and World Trade Organisation have called for urgent action to address the global food security crisis.
This is contained in a joint statement issued by the Director-General, FAO, Qu Dongyu; Managing Director, IMF, Kristalina Georgieva; President, WBG, David Malpass; Executive Director, WFP, David Beasley and Director-General, WTO, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
They said the war in Ukraine continues to worsen global food security and nutrition crisis, triggering higher volatility in energy, food and fertiliser prices.
They said inspite of the reprieve in global food prices and the resumption of grain exports from the Black Sea, food remained beyond reach for many due to high prices and weather shocks.
They said the number of people facing acute food insecurity worldwide is expected to continue to rise.
Fertiliser markets, they said, remained volatile, especially in Europe, where tight natural gas supplies and high prices had caused many producers of urea and ammonia to stop operations.
“We welcome the efforts of the Global Crisis Response Group and the Black Sea Grain Initiative: through the Joint Coordination Centre, over three million metric tons of grain and foodstuffs have already been exported from Ukraine.
” We are encouraged by the downward trend of trade-restrictive measures implemented by countries and hope that the trend continues, ” they said.
The World Bank is implementing its 30 billion dollar programme to respond to the food security crisis and front loading resources from the IDA20 Crisis Response Window.
The leaders added that the IMF was proposing a new food shock window within the IMF emergency lending instruments.
” The FAO has proposed a series of policy recommendations and launched detailed soil nutrition maps at country level to increase efficiencies in the use of fertilisers.
”Maintaining momentum on these fronts and building resilience for the future would require a continued comprehensive and coordinated effort to support efficient production and trade, and improve transparency.
“Also to accelerate innovation and joint planning and invest in food systems transformation,” they said.
In terms of supporting efficient production and trade, they said, governments in all countries need to urgently re-examine their agricultural trade and market interventions, such as subsidies and export restrictions.
“This would help to identify and minimise distortions.
”In terms of improving transparency, food market monitoring must be supplemented with transparent tracking of financing by the international community to respond to the food crisis.
“Governments should provide necessary data and resources to support Agricultural Market Information System, which enhances transparency in food markets through monitoring the prices and availability of major food crops and promoting policy responses, “they noted.
Addressing both infrastructure bottlenecks and input supply bottlenecks, for example, fertilizers and seeds, they said are critical to an efficient food supply system.
“Effective and sustainable support to smallholder farmers will be vital to ensure they are part of the solution and to localise supply chains.
“We remain committed to working together to address immediate food security and nutrition needs, tackle structural market issues that may exacerbate adverse impacts, and build countries’ resilience to prevent and mitigate the impacts of future.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it is ready to sign a final agreement with Lebanon at the earliest possible to unlock aid for the crisis-hit country.
The managing director of IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, said this during her meeting with Lebanese Prime Ministe, Najib Mikati, on the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
“We also want to complete the required steps from Lebanon, including the approval of reform projects in the parliament and addressing the exchange rate issue,” she said.
She added that the international interest in Lebanon is still there, but the required steps should be exp
The current session of the UN General Assembly provides a "solemn opportunity" to consider common challenges that are of great concern to the future of humanity, President Faustin-Archange Touadéra of the Central African Republic (CAR) told the global gathering.
on Tuesday “More than ever, the question of security, peace, the environment and health are entering a critical phase.
However, the warning signs are being ignored in favor of economic, geopolitical and geostrategic interests,” he said, speaking through an interpreter.
The theme of this year's General Assembly is A Turning Point: Transformative Solutions to Intertwined Challenges.
Honor your commitments For Mr. Touadéra, protecting the environment is one of the intertwined challenges that countries must overcome.
"It is time for the biggest polluters to honor their commitments, in particular the implementation of the Paris Agreement, as well as international solidarity for climate justice with respect to the most vulnerable populations," he said.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown how global public health "is an imperative for all nations, without exception."
'Paradigm shift' in health The president said that the Central African Republic has welcomed the "paradigm shift" taking place in the health sector and the unprecedented push for solidarity that accompanies it, including access to vaccines against polio, COVID-19 and, soon, malaria.
He reported that the country has achieved polio-free status, while 50 percent of the target population has been vaccinated against COVID-19.
"I congratulate and encourage the health emergency preparedness initiative implemented by the World Health Organization (WHO)," he continued.
“The Central African Republic is proud to be the instigator and to be the first pilot country that is helping to tangibly improve our ability to manage epidemics.” Development at risk However, the national “march towards development” has been held back by serious security and public health crises, which have been exacerbated by the persistent lack of international financial support.
This has resulted in disruptions to agriculture, forestry, and mining.
“As a fragile state facing food insecurity and a glaring shortage of material and human resources, the Central African Republic continues to make enormous sacrifices to improve its macroeconomic management and fiscal governance,” he said.
"With the support of its partners, my country has been able to implement ambitious reforms to strengthen revenue mobilization and optimize public spending."
The CAR hopes that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reestablishes the extended line of credit, which had been suspended.
The measure will help boost internal resources and allow the digitization of small tax collection.
Cryptocurrency pioneer However, solutions are still needed to address other challenges, such as developing a resilient and diversified economy, and supporting the education system.
He reported that the Central African Republic was the first country in Africa to adopt Bitcoin as a reference currency and digital payment system, and the first in the world to unanimously adopt a law regulating cryptocurrencies.
“This ambitious and innovative initiative represents a huge opportunity to reposition the economy to improve prospects and change the destiny of the people of the Central African Republic at this time when we need to open ourselves to new horizons and solutions that go beyond the conventional.
,” he said.
Restoration of state authority Mr. Touadéra added that the Central African Republic has also undertaken several bold reforms and initiatives, with the support of international partners, to strengthen the rule of law and restore state authority throughout the country's territory.
In addition, the government's "courageous measures" to combat impunity, along with the implementation of a February 2019 peace agreement and other actions, have helped reduce tensions and build trust.
abolished the death penalty in June this year A law on combating human trafficking and a child protection code were passed in August Arms embargo The president also referred to the UN Security Council resolution the UN approved in July that eased the arms embargo on his country.Resolution 2648 also condemned attacks by armed groups against civilians.“I also noted with satisfaction the position ion of the Council against transnational trafficking networks, which continue to supply weapons of all kinds to armed groups.
I welcome the significant progress that has enabled a substantial lifting of the arms embargo imposed on our defense and security forces,” he said.
"I would like to convey the gratitude of the people of the Central African Republic to all friendly and brotherly countries that strongly support our request for a complete and total lifting of the embargo."
However, Mr. Touadéra said that he deplored "the maneuvers that seek to legitimize the armed groups and insidiously maintain the embargo."
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.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called for a stronger operational framework and price stability to combat inflation in Nigeria.
The IMF Resident Representative for Nigeria, Mr Ari Aisen, said this in his keynote address at the Financial Markets Dealers Association’s (FMDA) quarterly meeting on Friday in Lagos.
The FMDA quarterly meeting with the theme: “Nigeria Macroeconomic Developments and Outlook: IMF View,” was hosted by the First Bank of Nigeria Ltd. Aisen said focusing on price stability was needed to tackle the country’s high inflation.
Speaking on the IMF policy recommendations to safeguard financial stability, he stressed the need for regulatory vigilance and timely actions against undercapitalised banks.
According to him, the introduction of additional macro prudential instruments are essential for financial stability.
He expressed concern over the structural challenges in Nigeria, noting that more efforts were needed to reduce corruption vulnerabilities.
Aisen called for improvement in government efficiency, initiating civil service reforms and ensuring accountability of COVID-19 spending.
He said, “more domestic revenue mobilisation is needed to reduce fiscal vulnerabilities and create policy space.
” Aisen urged the Federal Government to ensure permanent removal of fuel subsidies in line with the Petroleum Industry Act to boost revenue.
He, however, said compensatory measures for the poor should be in place to mitigate the effects of subsidy removal.
On exchange rate, Aisen called for a unified and market-clearing exchange rate to strengthen the external reserve.
This, according to him, will be achieved through complementary macro-economic structural policies to preserve competitiveness gains from any exchange rate adjustment.
He noted that the COVID-19 and war had affected food prices all over the world.
Aisen said these developments had called for bold trade and agricultural reforms for inclusive recovery.
FMDA is the principal interface with the monetary authorities through policy advocacy and engagement aimed at promoting sound markets and ethical conducts comparable to international standards.
It has the ultimate objective of facilitating liquidity, transparency and price discovery and engendering market deepening.