Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday said the plans of the current administration to slash taxes is to make Nigeria’s business environment attractive to investors.
According to him, just like the Muhammadu Buhari offered a range of tax incentives to Nigerians through the Finance Bill later passed into law last year, it is again offering more this year through the 2020 Finance Bill so as to attract more incentives and make doing business in Nigeria more competitive.
Osinbajo gave this explanations at the third edition of the Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit held virtually, which featured several Nigerians and prospective investors from the Diaspora.
Speaking specifically about how the Federal Government has been able to use the 2019 Finance Act to improve the business environment in the country, the Vice President said “what we have done in furthering our own economic policy is to attempt to make the fiscal environment as attractive as possible. What we have done is to use the instrumentality of the Finance Acts to make or propose significant reforms.”
He gave highlights of the tax incentives in the proposed 2020 Finance Bill to include: Reduction in duties on tractors from 35 to 10 per cent; Reduction in duties on motor vehicles for the transportation of goods from 35 to 10 per cent and Reduction of levy on motor vehicles for the transportation of persons (cars) from 35 per cent to 5 per cent.
Others are exemption of small companies from payment of education tax under the Tertiary Education Trust fund (TETFUND)-companies with less than N25m turnover are eligible; 50 per cent reduction in minimum tax; from 0.5 per cent to 0.25 per cent for gross turnover for financial years ending between January 1st, 2020 and December 31st, 2021; granting of tax relief to companies that donated to the COVID-19 relief fund under the private sector coalition (CACOVID) and introduction of software acquisition as qualifying capital allowance.”
Commending the contributions of the Nigerian diaspora community in the development of the country, the Vice President noted that “our diaspora is one of our most vital resources, a literarily endless reservoir for talent, trade, investment, tourism, education, culture and sport opportunities.”
“But perhaps more important is the sheer range of well trained, honed and experienced talents that our diaspora represents. It is that potential not remittances that make our diaspora network an endless source of economic hope and social aspiration,” Prof. Osinbajo added.
Acknowledging the efforts of the CEO of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) Abike Dabiri-Erewa, particularly in harnessing the resources and talents of Nigerians abroad, Osinbajo said “the diaspora initiatives that we have, and all of your efforts are certainly appreciated and will result to a stronger economy for Nigeria and a better country.”
In her opening remarks, Dabiri-Erewa said: “The objective of this Summit is to establish a platform where Diaspora Investors can interact with potential sponsors, partners, collaborators and government agencies with a direct roundtable deals for mutual benefits.
“The Summit is an avenue to expose the Nigerians in Diaspora to key into the following investment sectors: Healthcare, Education, Agribusiness, Creative Entertainment and Sports, Telecommunication, ICT/Fintech and Manufacturing.”
On the benefits of the summit to Nigerians in Diaspora, she said “it will strengthen your investment profile, expand your business network, showcase your global best practices, provide opportunity to meet key decision makers and industry influencers, brand exposure and many more that will help you in contributing to National development.
“As we are all aware, Nigeria is our country and it is important to bring together all expertise from various fields especially from the diaspora to develop Nigeria.
The Summit Coordinator, Dr Badewa Adejugbe-Williams, said she was impressed that participants took time out to participate in this Summit regardless of the differences in time zone.
“This simply shows the resilience of Nigerians in Diaspora and at home in seeing a new Nigeria in bringing about national development to their country.
“This event is a culmination of an enormous effort which began in the year 2018 with the aim of actualizing the Federal Government Economic Recovery growth plan in encouraging multichannel investment options, and in recognition of the Diaspora as being one of the best groups to connect with when designing strategies for attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). From that moment, many institutions and individuals have contributed in one form or the other towards the organization and the success of this yearly summit. I should like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to this institutions and individuals, most especially His Excellency the President of the Republic for the constant firm support for this summit.
“The theme “Post Covid 19 Resurgence: Targeting Diaspora Investment” is apt, especially at this era when the Corona Virus Pandemic has affected both the human and material resources of all Nations. We need our Diaspora Community more than ever before because they possess the pertinent resources and are at the cutting edge of technology and development. There is no doubt therefore that our Nigerian Diaspora are an asset to their host countries and Nigeria in terms of their resources, skills and talents.
“The engagement of Nigerians in Diaspora in resurging the economy is more pertinent now as the post COVID-19 economy recovery plan requires global best practices for which the Diaspora are best suited.”