Federal Inland Revenue Service is planning to partner with the global forum on Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) in an effort to reduce tax evasion in Nigeria, Babatunde Fowler, Executive Chairman, FIRS said.
In a NAN’s report, Fowler disclosed this on Sunday in Lagos on the sideline of the just concluded workshop on Automatic Exchange of Information for tax purposes.
Fowler said, at the workshop which was organised by FIRS, Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for tax Purposes, that AEOI would help the country to increase its tax revenue for national development.
AEOI provides for the exchange of non-resident financial account information with the tax authorities in the account holders’ country of residence, as participating jurisdictions that implement AEOI send and receive pre-agreed information each year, without having to send a specific request.
Working under the auspices of the OECD and G20 and focuses on increasing the standard for information exchange, the forum addresses tax evasion, tax havens, offshore financial centres, tax information exchange agreements, double taxation and money laundering.
According to Fowler, “in Africa, it is clear that we need to help each other and the only way we can help each other is through this automatic exchange of information. When we look at sources of revenue, all of assets such as oil, iron, diamond, we have it all but at the end of the day, it is not sufficient to fund the respective governments.
“Some countries have different tax systems but at the end of the day, each African country needs to maximise its revenue through taxation and the avenue of doing that is through information exchange.”
The executive secretary said that connecting to the exchange would also help in monitoring the citizens who made money through illegal activities and then invest the proceeds outside the country.
“A lot of people talk about African leaders taking money out of their respective countries and investing it not only in Europe but in other African countries.’’
Fowler pointed out that it is quite unfortunate that those host countries do not ask for information, particularly the sources, the tax payments of those individuals or organisations that made such investment.
Such act poses danger to the stability of the economy and also the type of investment that is accepted, He said.
Fowler said, “USA has a scheme now for all Americans that have investments or have bank accounts outside America.
“They have given the countries where they have those accounts a certain time limit to provide that information to them even without any international legal agreement.
“So, if developed countries can be looking at their bottom-line in terms of tax revenue, then I appreciate this team for their efforts and interest, because they don’t owe us any obligation.”