VAIDS: Gov Ugwuanyi Demands N14bn debts From FG


BY OGBONNA CASMIR, ENUGU – Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has requested the Federal Ministry of Finance to impress on federal agencies and establishments in the state to remit over 14 billion Naira owed in taxes to the state.

The governor, who made the plea during the Federal government enlightenment campaign on Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) in Enugu, said his administration has also spent about N2.7 billion on the rehabilitation of federal roads across the state.

He however lamented that all efforts so far made by the state government to recover the debts have been unsuccessful despite that Enugu has continued to provide necessary infrastructure for the smooth operations of the affected agencies.

According to him, his administration is willing to collaborate with the relevant Federal authorities towards ensuring that the outstanding amount is refunded to the state government which needs resources for productive ventures across the State.

On the need for individuals and corporate organisations to pay their taxes regularly, Governor Ugwuanyi encouraged Enugu State residents and indeed all Nigerians to embrace VAIDS that has provided soft landing for tax defaulters in the country to declare their assets and ensure payment of proper taxes on them.

Speaking at the event, Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun urged all wealthy Nigerians to take advantage of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) to regularize their tax status and escape unsavoury consequences.

Adeosun said the Federal Government has already compiled data on property, bank accounts, shareholdings and other income sources of individuals and corporate entities, adding that VAIDS was conceived to allow Nigerian companies and individuals to live right for the country.

She said; “From our records, there seems to be a few big men and big women from this part of the country, who may need to think very carefully about making a VAIDS declaration. We have been compiling data on property, bank accounts, share holdings and other sources that suggest that many people have not been paying the right taxes. VAIDS is an opportunity to regularize the defect.”

The Minister noted that huge funds have been moved out of Nigeria without the owners paying a kobo in taxes and warned that anyone that has already done so would be found out and made to pay the appropriate taxes.

“The good news for government, which is bad news for the tax evaders, is that globally, nations have agreed to share data under the Automatic Exchange of Information. This means that sitting at our
desks in Abuja, we are getting information about assets that the owners thought were well hidden from the tax authorities”, Mrs Adeosun said.

VAIDS, which provides a time-limited opportunity for tax defaulters to declare their indebtedness, ends on March 31, 2018 and those within the timeframe will be free of tax audits; payment of interests; and penalties on owed taxes as well as prosecution. However, failure to declare at the expiration of the window will attract severe penalties and prosecution.

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