• Saturday, December 02, 2023
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FG to remove taxes on tomatoes, raw food items – JTB chair


Muhammad Nami, chairman of the Joint Tax Board (JTB) says the Federal Government is working to end taxes on tomatoes and other raw food items.

Nami stated this at the 153rd JTB meeting with the theme “Harmonisation and codification of taxes at national and sub-national levels, key to achieving tax-friendly environment in Nigeria” in Abuja.

He said ending taxation on the ‘non-taxable item’ was part of the proposed tax reforms of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration.

“For the informal sector, we do not want goods and services that are not taxable to be taxed. We will have an enumeration of the sector to ensure that those that are trading in goods like tomatoes and other raw food items are not made to pay taxes.

Read also: Tax exemption keeps Nigeria’s petrol price lower than African peers

“Also, those that are not making up to N25 million will not be allowed to pay company tax or value-added tax (VAT),” the chairman said.

Nami, who is also the executive chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), also said that President Tinubu was determined to harmonise taxes and end multiple taxation in the country.

“We are lucky to have a new administration that has from day one indicated interest in eliminating multiple taxation.

Read also: Nigerian processors struggle as tomato prices jump nine-fold

“The implication is that what we call informal taxes, black taxes or whatever name it is called either at the federal, state or local government levels, will be eliminated.

“This is to encourage investment and to raise revenue generation. The move has become necessary because the irony is that the more taxes we have the less revenue we generate,” he said.

The chairman noted that the harmonisation process would further reduce the number of taxes, block leakages as well as boost revenue generation.

Nami said: “Once multiple taxation ends, there will be funds at all tiers of government to build roads, schools and hospitals and to secure lives and property.

“This is not another promise that will not be fulfilled; the government has announced the constitution of a committee already.”

The chairman said he recently attended the national executive council (NEC) meeting to speak with governors for their support to end tax multiplicity.

“We are confident that with the inauguration of the tax committee by the president tomorrow, Tuesday, we will start work immediately.

“It means that promises made in the past which were not kept will be kept this time,” Nami said.

In her remarks, Nana-Aisha Obomeghie, executive secretary, JTB, said there would be adequate sensitisation on the harmonisation process. According to her, the essence of the sensitisation was to create public awareness on “what tax to pay and what tax not to pay”.

“We intend to create awareness on when taxes should be paid and not a situation where people are made to pay taxes they do not know about.

“There will be lots of sensitisation on this for seamless payment of taxes.

“This will also help with ease of doing business while making tax environment friendly. People pay all manner of taxes; some legal and others illegal. Unfortunately, not all the monies go into government coffers.

“Some of the taxes go to the Federal Government and others do not. So, the essence of our gathering today is to harmonise all the collections such that you know what to pay and where to pay,” Obomeghie said.

Taiwo Oyedele, chairman of the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee, said about nine types of taxes were paid to the Federal Government. He said state and local government councils receive much more taxes than the Federal Government, describing the situation as overwhelming to businesses.

Oyedele said the harmonisation process would go a long way in reducing corruption, tax evasion, among others.

Revenue collection officers from the 36 states of the federation and the federal capital territory (FCT) attended the meeting.