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FIRS COMMENCES DIRECT COLLECTION OF TAXES FROM ONLINE GAMING OPERATORS

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has stated that it has commenced the deduction of taxes at transaction points from Online Gaming Transactions using the Sentinal National Payment Gateway and Electronic Solution.

In a Public Notice signed by its Executive Chairman, Muhammad Nami, the Service while directing full compliance by the online gaming community, explained that the Sentinal National Payment Gateway was a transaction processing system that enables Integrated Payment Services Providers to deduct taxes at the points of transaction and immediately remit the tax deducted to the government’s treasury.

“The FIRS is automating the administration of tax on online gaming using Sentinal National Payment Gateway and Electronic Solution.

“Sentinal National Payment Gateway is a transaction processing system that enables Integrated Payment Service Providers to deduct taxes at transaction-points and remit the tax deducted directly to government’s treasury.

“The deployment of Sentinal National Payment Gateway will simplify tax compliance for companies engaged in online gaming activities,” the notice read.

The FIRS also noted that all operators offering online gaming services in Nigeria, not later than the 31st of December 2022, were required “to connect to the Sentinal National Payment Gateway, deduct tax from online gaming transactions and remit same directly to the relevant government’s treasury.”
The Notice stated that though it was not mandatory for online gaming operators offering online gaming services from outside Nigeria to be incorporated in Nigeria, they are compelled by extant tax laws to connect to the Sentinal National Payment Gateway for the purposes of dedicating tax from the gaming transactions of players in Nigeria, and remitting same directly to the government purse.

Mr. Muhammad Nami, Executive Chairman of the FIRS, commenting on this approach to tax collection at the point of transaction stated that the country needed to innovate and harness technology for improved revenue generation from e-commerce as well as for accountability.

“The world is entering a challenging time where there is a strong obligation on Governments to increase tax revenue as a percentage of GDP so as to provide much needed funding for local infrastructure and public services. Nigeria needs to innovate and harness technology to ensure that online transactions are taxed and accounted for.

“We have been very impressed with the Sentinal platform which allows us to not only collect tax revenues at source, but also provides us with tax reporting and monitoring tools in real time,” Mr Nami stated, “The system will also integrate with our own TaxPro Max portal.”

In his comments at a meeting with the tax authority head, the Director General of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission of Nigeria, Mr. Lanre Gbajabiamila commended the adoption of this innovation, describing it as a “huge step” for taxation of the gaming industry.

“Online gaming continues to grow rapidly in Nigeria, particularly on mobile, and the adoption of E-technologies’ Sentinal National Payment Gateway is a huge step for us to allow us to capture gaming duty at source.

“We are welcoming all responsible offshore gaming operators to apply for a Remote Operator Permit as long as they pass all the relevant criteria including full AML screening and responsible gaming practices. We are proud to be the first country to adopt the Sentinal System and we believe it will bring a real national benefit to Nigeria,” Mr. Gbajabiamila noted.

David Kicks, the CEO of the E-Technologies Global Limited, the proprietors of the Sentinal National Payment Gateway expressed excitement over the adoption of the system by the Service.

“Governments in rapidly developing nations are struggling to keep pace with the evolution of eCommerce and the ascent of mobile transactions.

“We are thrilled that the Nigerian Government has made the decision to integrate our Sentinal System, which empowers them to streamline online taxation. By understanding better how the payments ecosystem behaves and evolves, we can drive a paradigm shift towards a point of consumption tax methodology,” he said.

Johannes Oluwatobi Wojuola
Special Assistant to the Executive Chairman, FIRS
(Media & Communication)
October 26, 2022

Business

“Nigeria College of Taxation and Fiscal Studies” Bill Passes Second Reading

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A bill for an Act to establish the Nigeria College of Taxation and Fiscal Studies passed its Second Reading last week at the Senate.

The presentation of the Bill was made by Senator Abdullahi Aliyu Sabi CON on the floor of the Senate Tuesday last week, where he noted that the institution, if established would provide professional and academic training as well as certification for tax administrators, tax practitioners and tax professionals across the country.

In his presentation, Senator Sabi, who represents Niger North Senatorial District of Niger State stated that the College had become necessary given the important role that taxation is playing in the nation’s economy, and that this institution would help formulate and draft tax policy for the country while addressing human capital gaps in the country’s tax industry.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that diversifying the sources of government revenue to focus on sustainable sources is inevitable. This diversification puts taxation at the centre of the revenue mobilization discussion; the attainment of this laudable objective would require tax experts who have been properly and adequately schooled to formulate tax policy, draft and interpret tax legislation, carry on private tax practice, and administer taxation in the modern era.

“In view of the constant shift in the social, technological and business environment, with direct impact on the tax system, it is is important to have skills, competence, and adaptable personnel to man the tax system. There must be a conscious development of the field of taxation and fiscal policies in Nigeria to awake the society on the importance of taxation as a sine qua non to our development.

“Nigeria must go beyond the mere inclusion of taxation in the curriculum of educational institutions; instead the country must establish a modern system that facilitates the study of taxation via a well laid out academic curriculum, guided and focused by practical realities of Nigerian taxation and the revenue ecosystem,” he noted.

Senator Sabi further emphasised that the College would help in tackling the issue of lack of sufficient capacity of tax officers, which he noted has led to “the delegation of powers of revenue authorities to third parties, creating complications, multiplicity and uncertainty in the tax system,” and that it would correct “aggressive and orthodox methods for tax collection” while also carrying out a “regular review of obsolete tax laws that do not reflect modern realities.”

He noted that all these would help the country address its fiscal and revenue challenges and achieve the objectives of the National Tax Policy.

In his presentation, the distinguished Senator representing Niger North also cited that countries such as Kenya, Japan, India, Australia, Austria, Singapore, and Malaysia have established similar institutions for developing capacity in taxation, excise duty and customs and fiscal matters, and that this has impacted positively on their economy through significantly high tax-to-GDP ratios.

This College is expected to provide training for tax officials, including officers of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria Customs, sub-national revenue authorities, and even the general public. It is to consist of a main campus and 12 regional centres.

The Bill proposes that the College would be funded chiefly by the extant yearly subvention of the FIRS for training thus requiring no direct impact on government spending.

Senator Adamu Aliero representing Kebbi Central District, Kebbi State, commenting on the Bill noted that the only sustainable source of revenue for the Federation was taxation, and that the proposed College would train tax officials who would be instrumental to widening the country’s tax net.

He also added that there is currently no institution in Nigeria that offers specialised training in taxation.

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NLC, CBN meet in Abuja over Cash scarcity

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In less than 24 hours after the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, directed all its branches and affiliate unions to mobilize members for a shut down of all the branches of the Central Bank of Nigerian, CBN, across the country, over cash scarcity, the apex bank on Thursday evening met with the NLC at the Labour House Abuja.

Recall that the Comrade Joe Ajaero-led NLC, had on Wednesday while addressing journalists said that activities in all branches of the CBN nationwide and the Abuja headquarters will be shut down on Wednesday next due to the cash crunch in the country.

Comrade Ajaero had advised workers to stockpile food items as the industrial dispute with the CBN will be total.

He said Nigerians have been subjected to untold hardship occasioned by the scarcity of naira notes to attend to medical needs and other areas of need.

Vanguard gathered that the NLC threat to paralyze activities at the CBN necessitated the impromptu meeting which started at about 5 pm on Thursday.

The two man delegation made up of the CBN Deputy Gpvrrnor in charge of operations and the Deputy Governor in charge of Economic Pokicy, told the NLC President that about two billion naira was pushed out on Thursdsy in a bid to address the hardship.

A source privy to the meeting told Vanguard that the CBN promised to ensure that the scarcity of naira notes will come to an end as quickly as possible.

“They said the money they pushed out today is equivalent to the whole money pushed out within the week. They also promised to work day and night starting from this night to ensure that there is enough money in the banks,” the source said.

He further said that the CBN denied the allegation that it was printing money out of the country and that the Governor, Godwin Emefiele has directed that the old naira notes should be made available to customers.

Besides, the source denied the allegation that the old naira notes have been burnt, assuring that there will be remarkable improvement in few days to come.

It was gathered that the NLC President, Comrade Ajaero told the CBN delegation that he was not interested in how much that was pushed out, but only interested in seeing that workers and other Nigerians collect their money in banks without stress..

“The President told them that it does not bother us how much they pushed out, our concern is to see that this hardship comes to a stop.

“He also told them that they should work day and night to solve the problem and will depend on the feedback from the average Nigerians who go to the banks to make withdrawals whether there is improvement before Wednesday next week NLC planned to picket the apex bank ,” the source said.

When contacted, the NLC President, Comrade Ajaero, confirmed the meeting and said that the interest of the leadership is to see that Nigerians are able to withdraw their money devoid of the hardship they are passing through.

“We will only know that they are serious when we see improvement,” he added.

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EFCC Arraigns FCMB Manager Over N55Million Overdraft Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC,  has arraigned one Kichime Gomwalk, a bank manager and two others for alleged fraud.

Gomwalk of First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Michael Damkas Buayam of Tan Global Energy Limited, and Abbas Andrew Dayilim of Castlegate International Limited were arraigned on Tuesday before Justice P. S. Gang of the Plateau State High Court Jos.

The accused persons were arraigned on five counts bordering on stealing, cheating and obtaining by false pretence money to the tune of N55,000.000.00 (fifty-five million naira).

Gomwalk, while serving as the manager of the bank’s branch at Murtala Mohammed Way in Jos, the Plateau State capital, was alleged to have forged COCIN Gratuity Certificate of Pledge/Letter of Set-Off dated December 30, 2019, purportedly co-signed by Mrs. Monica Bitrus Tang and Rev (Dr.) Amos Musa Mohzo, Directors.

 

It was allegedly used to secure an overdraft facility from FCMB Plc to the tune of N55 million with COCIN Gratuity account number 100GOMWALK379 domiciled with FCMB Plc.

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