Paris Club Refund To States Hit $5.4bn– Finance Minister

Paris Club Refund To States Hit $5.4bn– Finance Minister A total amount of $5.4billion Paris Club Refund has so far been disbursed to states by the Federal Government.

The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this in her maiden press briefing in Abuja while highlighting steps taken by the Federal Government to increase revenue generation in 2019.

According to her, the Federal Government has taken steps on debts repayment, as a total of $5.4 billion has been paid for the Paris club refund, $1.9 billion as export expansion grant and $6.8billion payment for cash call obligation.

The $5.4billion paid as settlement of the Paris Club Refund, when converted based on the N305 per dollar official exchange rate of the Central Bank of Nigeria is about N1.65trillion. The Paris Club Refund was released to states in phases based on some conditions.

The Minister added that the steps by the Federal Government to improve the economy in 2019 will include the introduction of a national single window trading platform for the Nigerian customs service and automation of revenue collection processes.

This she said is expected to increase revenue by over 90 percent. Still speaking on the need to increase the revenue base, the Minister noted that government had constituted 8 Tax Appeal Tribunals (‘TATs’) across the nation to accelerate the resolution of over 209 pending cases relating to tax revenues of about US$18.804 billion, N205.654 billion &€0.821 million.

This, according to her, is critical to ensure that tax payers get a fair hearing and expedite resolution of tax disputes stressing that through this tax dispute resolution mechanism, government hopes to reduce incidences of tax evasion and improve payers’ confidence whilst ensuring fairness and transparency of tax. She said in order to take advantage of innovative technologies, government plans to leverage data, technological tools & platforms to foster collaboration, grow the revenue base and improve collections.

Given the span of stakeholders that form our port community and for the sake of improving ease of doing business, we plan to deploy a national single window/trade platform that we expect to enhance customs collections to about 90% over a few years. “We will also improve collaboration between our revenue collection agencies including the Nigerian Customs Services (NCS), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and other trade partners to share information and intelligence that will help improve revenue and make collections more efficient.”

She noted that by automating many of” our revenue collection processes such as the deployment of healthpay in the health sector, edupay in education and e-Collections by our Revenue Authorities, we have seen revenue shore up to record high levels. More specifically, FIRS deployed the e-Services platform that has automated the end to end tax process from registration to collection of Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC)”.

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