The Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the World Bank, have earmarked a $2.5m grant for each of the 36 states of the federation to be able to implement a tax compliance relief programme for taxpayers and businesses by September 31.
Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, Head, Media and Public Affairs, Nigeria Governors’ Forum Secretariat, in a statement on Sunday, said the initiative was an outcome of a virtual meeting held on Friday under the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme for Results, jointly organised by the World Bank and the NGF, and midwifed by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
The virtual meeting was attended by 125 participants from the 36 states of the federation, including State Commissioners of Finance and Executive Chairpersons of State Internal Revenue Services.
Bello-Barkindo said the incentive was to stimulate the success of the various tax relief programmes being introduced by state governments as part of measures to mitigate the unending toll of the coronavirus pandemic on businesses and ensure speedy recovery of states’ economies.
“These efforts are being incentivised by a new Disbursement Linked Indicator (DLI) under the Federal Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning (FMFBNP) World Bank $750 million States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme for Results.
Eligible states will be rewarded with $2.5 million each in performance-based grants if they announce by 31st July 2020 and implement by 30th September 2020 a tax compliance relief programme for individual taxpayers and businesses to mitigate the COVID-19 impact.
“However, there are criteria to be met if a State is to receive the $2.5m. These are that State announcements should be signed by the Commissioner of Finance or the Executive Chairman of the State Internal Revenue Service and published on State websites and in national dailies to ensure widespread awareness amongst taxpayers.
“Furthermore, the state government should issue to their tax officials and collecting agents, guidelines for the implementation of the reliefs to ensure consistent execution by all and sundry.”
He said the states were introducing tax relief programmes to mitigate what they called the “unending toll” of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses and individual taxpayers to ensure speedy recovery of state economies.
He said the relief programmes initiated in states across board had focused on five main tax activities, including extension of filing and payment dates, tax moratoriums, waivers or reduction of penalties and interests over the extension period.
“While some states are also offering rebates or discounts on taxes paid within a specific period, others are allowing the payment of taxes, fees and levies among others in instalments. States’ tax offices are now enabling filing and the issuance of tax clearance certificates electronically (online),” he added.