President Bola Tinubu has assured international investors from G20 nations that their money is safe within the borders of the country.
The president disclosed this during a panel discussion titled “Fostering Local Value Chains and Investments in Africa — The Role of the German Private Sector at the G20 Compact with Africa Economic Conference, hosted by German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, in Berlin, on Monday.
He highlighted to the investors that Nigeria has a large market and is ready to leverage all its advantages to become successful.
While the president is trying to woo investors in Germany, the Federation Account Allocation Committee is mulling plans to take decisive actions against multiple taxation in the country.
The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun, stated this at the opening of FAAC’s retreat on Monday in Delta. He announced that the government is not set to overburden taxpayers with many new taxes but will rather broaden its tax base while simplifying and streamlining tax administration in the country.
In Germany on Monday, Tinubu said, “Your money is safe… We are eager and ready to partner with you…We have the youngest, largest, and most vibrant youth population in Africa…equally, we have…a well-educated population, a massive market, and the political will to bring it all together under my leadership.”
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, conveyed this in a statement titled, ‘President Tinubu to investors: Nigerians are the greatest asset and advantage we have over other nations.’ Tinubu further explained to the investors that since he assumed office in May 2023, his administration has embarked on transformative changes, removing all obstacles hindering businesses in the country.
“We are reforming the economy based on the principle and philosophy of good governance,” the President affirmed.
He noted that while promoting the rule of law is crucial for attracting foreign investments, Nigeria’s energetic youth population and well-educated populace represent the most significant incentive for investors toward the mutually beneficial replication of China’s economic resurgence.
“We are eager and ready to partner with you. We have the youngest, largest, and most vibrant youth population in Africa. Equally, we have every ingredient required in making a modern economy: a well-educated population, a massive market, and the political will to bring it all together under my leadership,” he continued.
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Tinubu stressed that Africa now fully recognises the relationship between the inflow of investor money and the sanctity of contracts. The president further assured potential investors that Nigeria has moved beyond restrictive policies, and today, capital can be moved in and out of the country freely, providing flexibility for investors.
He also highlighted the socio-political stability in the country, saying, “Nigeria has consolidated its democracy with several consecutive handovers of power.
“There is stability and predictability in the socio-political development of our country, which provides a conducive atmosphere for business operations and investment.”
He affirmed that the Federal Government is also dogged in pursuit of natural gas development. He further disclosed that the country is set to implement tax reforms.
He said, “The world knows Nigeria as a leader in the energy sector. Our vast gas deposits and business-friendly environment make us an attractive investment destination.
“But we are going a step further now. We are creating fiscal responsibility and tax reforms as we reform our financial institutions to accommodate foreign investments expeditiously.”
Meanwhile, in Delta on Monday, the Minister of Finance, Mr Wale Edun, who was represented by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr Okokon Udo, declared that the government is not set to overburden taxpayers with many new taxes, but will rather broaden its tax base while simplifying and streamlining tax administration in the country.
Edun, who highlighted the government’s target of a tax-to-GDP ratio of 18 per cent by 2026, said, “We all know that achieving tax revenue to GDP target of 22 per cent and tax to GDP of 18 per cent by 2026 are parts of the cardinal objectives of this administration.
“However, in doing that we appreciate the need not to overburden the taxpayers by introducing so many new taxes. What is necessary to be done is to broaden the tax base and simplify and streamline tax administration for ease of collection. That is why, among the prior activities of this government after coming to office, was the constitution of a presidential Committee on fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms. The Committee has already submitted an interim report full of optimism.
“The Federal Government is poised to restore Government revenue, promote fiscal balance and prudent management of government expenditure.”
Multiple taxes have been a bane to Nigerian businesses. Recently, telecommunication operators lamented that they are now faced with 52 different taxes.
The Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms, Mr Taiwo Oyedele, noted that the panel has suggested the merger of over 200 taxes being paid by Nigerian businesses into 10.
He said, “We have over 60 taxes and levies, officially collectible by federal, state, and local governments. Unofficially, those taxes are over 200, making life difficult for our people. So, the taxes at all levels of government combined, we think, should be less than 10.”
Backing the minister’s claim to expand the reduce multiple taxation, the governor of Delta State, Sheriff Oborevwori, who was represented by his Deputy, Mr Monday Onyema, affirmed that taxes are the dividend of a thriving private sector.
He said, “Tax is the dividend of a thriving private sector. For us to reap the benefits, we need to, as a matter of exigency, remove the institutional bottlenecks that make the cost of doing business in Nigeria unbearably high.
“It is only after we have done this that we can realistically expect to widen the tax base and diversify the economy. It is inevitable that where the cost of doing business is frustratingly high, tax evasion and tax avoidance will be pervasive.”
He also declared that the country’s tax-to-GDP ratio is comparatively low, making it vulnerable to disruptions in the global economy. He stated that a strong resilient and competitive economy requires a flourishing private sector.
Also at the meeting, Wale Edun, disclosed that the Federation Account has recorded improved revenue inflow since the removal of subsidy from an average of N650bn monthly to over N1tn monthly in the last four months.
He said, “The economic reforms which this administration has undertaken since its inception in May 2023 clearly outlined the right steps to transformation of the country’s economy.
“In less than six months of the administration, we have witnessed the introduction of important reforms, such as petroleum subsidy removal, fiscal and monetary policies reforms aimed at removing multiple taxation among others. The Federation Account in particular is witnessing improved revenue inflow since the removal of subsidy from an average of N650bn monthly to over N1tn in the last four months.
“The government had for long realised that petroleum subsidy is not sustainable given it erodes revenues that should have been available to fund viable expenditures that are critical to the wellbeing of the populace.”
Edun further declared that the Federal Government is set to collaborate with state governments to enhance capacity mobilisation of domestic revenue to support the development of vital sectors of the economy.
He stated that to ensure effective governance at all levels, the Federal Government in partnership with the World Bank has launched a programme, ‘the States Action on Business Enabling Reforms,’ to run from 2024 to 2026.
He stated that this programme will improve the ease of doing business in the country. Edun further disclosed that the government was aware of the hardship being faced by Nigerians because of the removal of petroleum subsidy and the harmonisation of exchange rates.