By Lawrence Olaoye
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the sum of N1.5 billion for media advertisement in nine months to create awareness leading to the recovery of about $1 billion (about N360 billion) from tax evaders currently enjoying Tax Amnesty.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, who briefed State House Correspondents after the weekly FEC meeting chaired by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday.
The minister said “I presented a memo on the Voluntary Asset Declaration Bill for approval of the sum of N1.5b to cover advertising campaign for 9 months, for Radio, TV, Online, newspapers including center spread.
I also briefed FEC on the progress under the Tax Amnesty and it has been very well received . We have people who are ready to declare and pay. We sent out over 500 letters under the first batch, but there are thousand of Nigerians being targeted but the first 500 letters have gone out. We have started to get responses back and many people are asking for time to pay.
“Most of the governors have agreed to give more time for people to make arrangements for payments. This is indeed a very good news for Nigeria as it will help reduce over reliance on oil. It will improve our tax revenue so that whether oil prices are high or low, we will be able to provide basic services for our people. Very high net worth people are now being brought into the tax revenue profile. We hope to exceed the target that has been set.”
Asked the exact amount expected to raked into the government coffers in the new tax recovery move, Adeosun said “we projected $1b and we have already gotten $110m and that is just from two companies. So, we feel we might exceed that target.”
Commenting on the whistleblowers issue, the minister said the November calculation stood at N421,330,595 and this include those whistleblower for Osborn Road recovery.
On conditions for the payment of whistleblowers money, Adeosun said “The only condition necessary is that the money will be paid to the Whistleblower who signed the agreement. Not to any company. If we get the Court judgement, we have to wait for three months to ensure that there are no encumbrances. We’ll also make sure that all applicable taxes are paid ahead. We get in touch with the state government where the person is domiciled, we pay the tax directly to the state and issue the tax receipt. So we built in these procedures to protect the Whistleblower.”
Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Suleiman Adamu, told newsmen the that complimentary to the memo he presented last week on the settlement of the 75km Gurara pipeline contract from Gurara Dam to Lower Usuma dam, his ministry got approval to engage a contractor for one year and to have a training contract with the contractor so that the project could handover to the FCT and the Ministry the project.
He said the ministry negotiated with the contractor handling the projects in the past nine years and agree to settle him with the sum of N1.712 billion. The agreed sum would be settle by the Water Resources Ministry and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on 50/50 basis.