The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has announced the opening of 25 new satellite tax offices across the country.
This was disclosed in statement issued on Wednesday by Johannes Oluwatobi Wojuola, special assistant on media and communication to Muhammad Nami, FIRS chairman.
The new offices were established to help the FIRS meet its revenue target of N10.1 trillion for 2022.
According to the statement, these new tax offices are part of the agency’s goal to “bring tax services nearer to the taxpaying public while bringing FIRS nearer to the public”.
“These new tax offices would help bring many taxpayers into the tax net, help filling of companies income tax, and value added tax as well as monitor compliance with other taxes,” the statement said.
Speaking at the launch of one of these new offices — the micro and small tax office, Epe, Lagos — Kabir Abba, group lead, general tax operations group at FIRS, said the FIRS management holds these offices as important, and expects them to spearhead tax collection activities in the area.
He said the agency’s chairman had directed staff at these offices to take the assignment very seriously, while working tenaciously towards bringing more taxpayers into the tax net.
Abba further explained that the deployment of technology had made their work easy, as taxpayers could work from the comfort of their offices and homes, register for tax, file returns and pay their taxes in a quick and seamless manner, including applying for their tax clearance certificate.
On his part, Iro Ukpai, chairman of the new satellite tax offices implementation committee, urged the office to reciprocate the confidence entrusted to them by the management by ensuring that they go all out to the field to “bring all the taxpayers who have not been paying their taxes into the tax net”.
Also speaking at the event, Chinedu Adirije, tax controller, FIRS, promised the group lead that the tax office was ready to do its best to bring in all the leaking tax revenues from Epe into the government purse and contribute towards realising the N10.4 trillion target given to the FIRS by the government.
CBN reduces over-the-counter withdrawals to N100k, N500k per week for individuals and companies
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced a new policy that mandates deposit money banks and other financial institutions to ensure that over-the-counter cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities do not exceed N100, 000 and N500, 000, respectively, per week.
The revised cash withdrawal limits, contained in a circular issued today by the apex bank and seen by newsmen, will take effect nationwide on January 9, 2023.
After the policy takes effect, all cash withdrawals above the stated limits will attract processing fees of 5% and 10%, respectively.
The new policy is coming barely weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari launched the newly redesigned N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes.
In line with the new cash withdrawal limits, any third-party cheques above N50, 000 will not be processed over the counter by any bank. The CBN said the “extant limits of N10, 000, 000 on clearing cheques still subsist”.
Weekly withdrawals through automated teller machines (ATMs) will be reduced to N100, 000 per individual. Withdrawals through this will be subject to an N20, 000 daily withdrawal limit.
In the same vein, the daily withdrawal limit through a point of sale (POS) terminals is N20, 000.
Note that the new N500 and N1000 banknotes will not be withdrawn through ATMs, as only N200 and below will be made available through the channel.
The CBN said there is a provision for individuals and corporates to withdraw N5 million and N10 million, respectively, once a month.
However, this is only for rare occasions and all parties intending to take advantage of this provision must provide compelling evidence of legitimate business purposes.
“In compelling circumstances, not exceeding once a month, where cash withdrawal above the prescribed limits is required for legitimate purposes, such cash withdrawals shall not exceed N5, 000,000 and N10, 000, 000 for individuals and corporate organisations, respectively, and shall be subject to the referenced processing fees in (1) above, in addition to the enhanced due diligence and further information requirements.”
To qualify for this exception, individuals and corporate organisations must provide the following information:
Valid means of identification.
Bank verification number (BVN)
Notarised declaration by the customer stating the reason for the excess cash withdrawal.
Written approval by the Managing Directors for drawees withdrawing on behalf of companies.
The CEOs of banks must authorise such withdrawals in writing.
Ghana begins domestic debt swap amid IMF bailout talks
The Ghanaian government has asked domestic bondholders to exchange their instruments for new ones.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Ken Ofori-Atta, Ghana’s finance minister, said existing domestic bonds would be exchanged for a set of four new bonds maturing between 2027 and 2037.
He said the new domestic debt exchange will begin on Monday, December 5, 2022.
The programme is part of the country’s efforts to restructure its debts to qualify for IMF assistance.
An IMF team is currently in Ghana for discussions on the economic support package.
The finance minister further expressed optimism that the programme would help the government restore macroeconomic stability.
“In the Budget Statement presented to Parliament on November 24th, I announced that government will undertake a debt operation programme.The broad contours of the Debt Sustainability Analysis has been concluded and I am here this evening to provide some details on Ghana’s Domestic Debt Exchange which will be launched tomorrow. External debt restructuring parameters will be presented in due course,” the statement reads.
“Under the Programme, domestic bondholders will be asked to exchange their instruments for new ones. Existing domestic bonds as of 1st December 2022 will be exchanged for a set of four new bonds maturing in 2027, 2029, 2032 and 2037. The annual coupon on all of these new bonds will be set at 0% in 2023, 5% in 2024 and 10% from 2025 until maturity. Coupon payments will be semi-annual.
“Our commitment to Ghanaians and the investor community, in line with negotiations with the IMF, is to restore macroeconomic stability in the shortest possible time and enable investors to realize the benefits of this Debt Exchange.”
Ofori-Atta added that an external debt restructuring programme would be presented later.
The finance minister said the government had worked to minimise the swap impact on investors holding government bonds, especially small investors and other vulnerable groups.
He said in line with that, treasury bills would be completely exempted and all holders would be paid the full value of their investments on maturity.
“There will be NO haircut on the principal of bonds. Individual holders of bonds will not be affected,” he added.
The minister said the government recognised banks and financial institutions hold a large amount of local government debt, but regulatory agencies and the central bank would help ease the impact on them.
“The Bank of Ghana, the Securities & Exchange Commission, the National Insurance Commission, and the National Pensions Regulatory Authority will ensure that the impact of the debt operation on your financial institution is minimized, using all regulatory tools available to them,” the statement adds.
“A Financial Stability Fund (FSF) is being established by government with the help of development partners to provide liquidity support to banks, pension funds, insurance companies, fund managers, and collective investment schemes to ensure that they are able to meet their obligations to their clients as they fall due.
“These are difficult times and we count on the support of all Ghanaians and the investor community to make the exercise successful.
“We are confident that these measures will contribute to restoring macroeconomic stability.”
Zenith Bank Emerges “Bank Of The Year, Nigeria” In The Banker Awards 2022
Zenith Bank Plc has emerged as Bank of the Year in Nigeria in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2022.
The award, which was announced by The Banker Magazine, Financial Times Group, United Kingdom, during the awards ceremony held in London on December 1, 2022, was in recognition of Zenith Bank’s strong management, sound business model and strategy, support for small businesses and efforts to cut energy consumption.
According to the Banker, Nigeria’s Bank of the Year award was among the continent’s most hotly contested this year, befitting the country’s status as Africa’s largest economy.
This is coming on the heels of the award as Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital by The Banker won by Zenith Bank earlier in the year.
Commenting on the award, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, said: “winning the Bank of the Year attests to our tenacity as an institution despite a very challenging operating environment exacerbated by persistent macroeconomic headwinds.
Indeed, being recognised by The Banker – the world’s longest running international banking title, is an acknowledgment of the resilience of the Zenith brand as the leading financial institution in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.”
He lauded the Founder and Chairman, Jim Ovia, CFR, for his guidance and pioneering role in laying the foundation and building the structures for an enduring and successful institution, the Board for their outstanding leadership, the staff for their commitment and dedication as well as the Bank’s customers for their unflinching loyalty to the Zenith brand over the years.
Regarded as the industry standard for banking excellence, The Banker’s Bank of the Year award is contested by the world’s leading financial institutions, with winners chosen across Africa, Asia-Pacific, Central & Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, North America and Western Europe.
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