•FG transmits document to NASS for ratification

 

From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

The Federal Government has approved a new taxation deal with the United Arab Emirates that aims to eliminate double taxation between the two countries.

Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, made the disclosure to State House Correspondents on Wednesday after the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Bola Tinubu at the presidential villa.

He explained that the Council has given the nod for the Nigeria-UAE double tax treaty to be forwarded to the National Assembly for ratification.

According to him, the treaty covers major taxes in Nigeria including personal income tax, company income tax, petroleum profit tax, information technology levy, education tax and capital gains tax.

Fagbemi added that once ratified by the National Assembly, the treaty will help strengthen economic ties between Nigeria and the UAE by removing tax barriers for businesses and investors.

He stated that the Tinubu administration was prioritizing reforms that improve Nigeria’s tax policies and make the country more attractive for foreign direct investments.

According to him, “one of the major issues discussed was the issue of double taxation encouraging foreign direct investment. This time around, it’s about the relationship between the Nigeria the United Arab Emirates.

“You’ll recall that a while ago, the president was in the United Arab Emirates. And one of the matters that came up for discussion and negotiation is the agreement for the elimination of double taxation with respect to taxes on income, and prevention of tax evasion and avoid avoidance.⁣

“The Council noted that the agreement between both countries, that is, between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates include personal income tax, company income tax, petroleum profit tax, information technology levy, tertiary education tax and capital gain tax.

“Because of the effect of this cooperation or the benefits that will accrue to Nigeria, the council agreed and directed that the agreement that had been signed already should be taken further by authorising the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice to prepare a Bill along this line to take to the National Assembly for ratification. ⁣

“The effect of this is that it does cease to be an ordinary agreement, but an agreement between two countries. Other countries will follow, but the one that we will immediately leverage on is the one between Nigeria and the UAE.

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“Apart from this one, he has also decided that going forward, we should also have a very solid national policy on taxation that will drive or attract foreign investments, so on the part of FDI, this was what was discussed and decided at the Federal Executive Council”, he explained. ⁣

During her briefing, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite, also  announced that an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) between the countries has been approved by the council for ratification by the National Assembly.

She  said her ministry would immediately invoke clauses in the IPPA to review and amend sections that may be unfavorable to Nigeria.

“Council also approved the ratification of the Investment Promotion and Protection agreements between Nigeria and the UAE.

“With the approval, we can now send the already-signed IPPA to the National Assembly for ratification.

“The council also approved that the Minister of Industry Trade and Investment should also immediately invoke Article 26 of that agreement, which mandates that we can review and amend some sections of the IPPA to conform with the current IPPA model that we’re using, which is a 2016 model.

“So that has been approved for ratification and we will immediately proceed to invoke the section that will enable us to review and amend the sections that were not originally viewed to be favorable,” she added.

Uzoka-Anite said the council also noted the rising cost of goods and services in the country, as well as the rising cost of doing business in Nigeria and also noted the excitement and optimism of the real sector that the Renewed Hope Agenda will bring a prosperous 2024.

“We deliberated on how we can actually improve the business environment for manufacturers and industrialist. As you’ll recall, the priority of this government is to promote and protect local industries and manufacturers and this will mean that we must do all that is necessary to remove all the roadblocks and bottlenecks impeding or impacting businesses.

“The President has always reiterated that Nigeria is open for business and that there are no more roadblocks. We are removing and we’ve removed these roadblocks and these roadblocks include multiple taxation, multiple levies, customs duties and various levies that are imposed on businesses, infrastructure decay, including power.

“The President already set up the Presidential Council on Industrial Revitalization, as well as the Presidential Council on Fiscal Reform and Tax Policy Review. The Presidential Council on Industrial Revitalization was set up in October and the Presidential Council on Fiscal Policy and Tax Review was set up in July 2023.

“He has now mandated that this council must fast-track their reports and their reviews and come up quickly with their recommendations so that the real sector and the citizens can begin to feel the impact of the Renewed Hope Agenda.

“As you will recall, the Presidential Council on Industrial Revitalization includes the following: the Committee on Consumer Credit, Committee on Artisan Certification and Licensing, Committee on Trade Facilitation, Committee on Commodity Exchange, Committee on Mining and Solid Minerals, Committee on Oil and Gas, Creative Economy, Steel and Heavy Industries and now Healthcare has also opted to join the Presidential Council, as well as the Committee on MSMEs.

“The FEC noted that when this committee finalizes its review and comes up with its reports, that we will be implementing policies that will jumpstart the economy again and see us experiencing a double-digit growth rate in the GDP, as well as being on track to achieve the vision of His Excellency to achieve a $1 trillion economy”.