From Juliana Taiwo- Obalonye, Abuja
THE Federal Executive Council has approved the Multilateral Competent Agreement and the exchange of country-by-country report, which will give it a better grip on its tax laws, prevent tax evasion by multinational companies.
This is coming at a time the Federal Government has lost over $1 trillion to tax evasion by multinational companies .
According to Ministers of Culture and Information, Lai Mohammed; Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi and Minister of Power, Housing and Works, Babatunde Fashola, addressing the press at the end of Federal Executive Council, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, the FEC also approved the outline business case for development of greenfield port facilities at Badagry, Lagos State.
Lai Mohammed revealed that the whole essence of the Multilateral Competent Agreement and the exchange of country-by-country report was to give the government a better grip on its tax laws and also to prevent tax evasion by multinational companies.
He said: “Where multinational companies operate in more than one country, it is quite easy for them to move profit from one territory to another territory, where the tax laws is very favourable to them and what has happened over the years is that the revenue companies have lost a lot of money.
“As at the last count, over $1 trillion has been lost over a period of time and the revenue companies have found that they were losing more money in terms of tax evasion and avoidance than what they were even receiving as grants from multinational agencies.
“So this is a law that provides that if a company, like MTN or Nestle, for
instance, is operating in Nigeria, not only must it file returns on its activities in Nigeria, it must also file returns on activities in every other country it is doing business so that you can see from there whether there is any attempt to hide figures. Apart from shoring up our finances, I think its is part of the fight against corruption and it also enhances transparency.”
In his contribution, Fashola said: “The multinational competence authority agreement is consistent with the macro-economic policy of government to fund its operation and economy with more tax income, as the prices of commodities, especially oil, become more threatened.
“It would allow government to see really how much taxable revenues it has access to, especially from companies and all of that. It is for transparency and accountability on the private side of the economy because transparency and accountability has been focused, perhaps, a little more on the public side of our national life.
“When you look at the throughput that is coming from the energy of the private sector beaming the ray of transparency and accountability on revenues that should come into the public space and be used for national development only helps to strength the economy in the long run and bring probity across board.”