States adopt World Bank prescription for speedy economic recovery

The 36 states are introducing tax reliefs to mitigate the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses and taxpayers for speedy economic recovery. The initiatives are premised on five pillars – extension of filing, payment dates, tax moratoriums, waivers or reduction of penalties – and interests over the extension period.

While some states are also offering rebates or discounts within a specific period, others are allowing payments in instalments, in addition to electronic filing and issuance of clearance certificates.

The decisions were part of a resolution reached at a virtual meeting held at the weekend under the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme for Results jointly organised by the World Bank and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).

Midwifed by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, experts at the event concluded that such waivers for businesses were inevitable in any move to revamp businesses facing liquidity crisis and individuals whose livelihoods have been negatively affected by the disease.

The efforts are being incentivised by a new Disbursement Linked Indicator (DLI) under the ministry’s $750 million World Bank/SFTAS initiative.

Qualified states that announce and implement palliatives for enterprises and individual taxpayers between July 31 and September 30 this year are to get $2.5 million each in performance-based grants.

The announcements must be signed by the Commissioner of Finance or the Executive Chairman of the State Internal Revenue Service and published on state websites and national dailies for better awareness.

Furthermore, the state government should issue to their tax officials and collecting agents guidelines for the implementation of the reliefs to ensure uniform execution by all and sundry.

The meeting was attended by 125 participants, including commissioners of finance and executive chairpersons of state internal revenue services.

Addressing the attendees, the Programme Manager, NGF SFTAS Technical Assistance Project, Olanrewaju Ajogbasile, stated that the secretariat, through the support of the ministry and the global lender, was providing technical advisory on the domestication of necessary reforms to meet the DLIs, and more broadly, fiscal sustainability.

 

 

 

 

By Matthew Ogune,
Guardian

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