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Mixed reactions trail proposed 5% VAT on all online purchases

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Mixed reactions have trailed the proposed plan by the Federal Government to slam a five percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on goods bought online.

Experts told the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Lagos, that the plan could discourage the growing digital economy, while some expressed worry that the revenue realised would not be properly utilised.

NAN reports that the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Mr Babatunde Fowler, had said that the government was considering a five percent VAT for online purchases to raise revenue to fund the budget.

Prof Sheriffdeen Tella, a Senior Economist at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun, said that the online space was still growing and taxing it now would discourage transactions.

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Tella urged the government to explore alternative ways of funding the budget.

In his opinion, Dr  Chijioke Mgbame, Associate Professor, Accountancy Department, University of Benin said that slamming a five per cent VAT on online purchases was not abnormal.

Mgbame, however, said that the greatest worry lay on the proper use of tax revenue for developmental purposes.

“Nigerians are worried because they do not see the benefit for tax payment.

“Some commodities like food stuff and children clothing should be exempted from tax,’’ Mgbame said.

The don noted that the structure of VAT was important and the welfare of the citizens should also be considered.

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Also, Dr Phillip Ujomu, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Federal University, Wukari, noted that the tax regime for online transaction seemed to be a move toward inclusion and accountable e- activity.

Ujomu, however, said that an area of concern could be the issue of multiple taxation at the latest local, State and Federal levels.

“More so, there seems to be the issue of citizens not easily seeing the positive impact of previous taxes.

“The truth is that Nigeria is struggling with its economy and is borrowing a lot to do basic things.

“So, taxing the people more is an easy avenue to earn more money from peoples’ labour,’’ Ujomu said.

Also speaking, Mr Chinedu Bassey, the Programme Officer, Tax Justice and Financing for Development of the Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), said that the digital economy was not captured in the Nigerian tax net.

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Bassey said that it was necessary to bring them into the tax net first rather than “taxing them arbitrarily’’.

Incentive is not wrong. Incentivise the digital economy into the tax net,’’ Bassey said. (NAN)

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FG to use hotels, schools as quarantine, isolation centres

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Covid-19: Prepare for the worst- FG tells Nigerians

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said the Federal Government would require hotels and school dormitories as quarantine and isolation centres because of a shortage of hospital beds.

The minister noted that there were four levels of COVID-19 patients ranging from those on quarantine with zero or mild symptoms to those that would need to be in the intensive care unit.

The minister said,

“We have sadly recorded 254 deaths, most of them are persons associated with other ailments, confirming the general observation that risks are higher for those with illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes and non-communicable diseases.

“We need to continue increasing bed capacity to match the probable number of patients, so that we do not experience horrific scenes of bed space shortages seen in some European hospitals.

“In event of overflow, we can require hotels and school dormitories to be prepared for level 1 which is quarantine, and level 2, is isolation of COVID-19 positive with zero or mild symptoms, to free hospital beds to be dedicated to level 3 which are moderate to severe cases and level 4 which is for the high dependency and the intensive care unit.

“I, therefore, call on activists and philanthropists to work with state governments to scale up non-pharmaceutical measures and beef up infrastructural assets for isolation and treatment in their states.”

Ehanire said Nigeria would review its participation in the World Health Organisation solidarity trial. He also stated that proposals for trial of local remedies for COVID-19 had been sent to the relevant research and testing agencies for scientific evaluation.

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He stated,

“The Madagascar herbs have been received at the Ministry of Health, and were found to consist of two varieties; one labelled to be for prevention and the other for treatment. Samples have been given to three agencies of the Ministry of Health and also to the Ministry of Science and Technology.

“These are normal processes for new preparations to be approved for use in Nigeria, and include toxicological and efficacy tests and clinical trials. Government will investigate all genuine efforts to find homegrown solutions to the pandemic.”

The minister said Madagascar’s drugs had been sent to NAFDAC, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, and the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research.

MORE READING!  JUST IN: 254 dead as Nigeria’s COVID-19 cases rise to 8,733
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JUST IN: Nigeria records182 new COVID-19 cases, total now 8,915

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Nigeria has recorded 182 new cases of COVID-19, bringing to 8,915 the total number of confirmed cases in the country.

Announcing this Thursday, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said Lagos recorded 111 new cases of the disease, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) 16, Akwa Ibom 10, Oyo eight, Kaduna and Delta six each, Rivers five, Ogun and Ebonyi four each, Kano three, Plateau, Gombe and Kebbi two each, while Kebbi, Bauchi and Borno had one each.

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It said: “Nigeria had recorded 8,915 cases of COVID-19, while 2,592 persons have been discharged with 259 losing their lives

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VSF supports Edo IDPs with COVID-19 palliatives

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The Victims Support Fund (VSF) has supported the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and vulnerable Nigerians in Edo State with palliatives to help cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The VSF Team was led by the Chairperson of the VSF Task Force on COVID-19, Mrs. Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji who was in the company of the Edo State government that was ably represented by the wife of the Edo State Governor, Mrs Betsy Obaseki.

This comes as the country battles over 8700 cases of the respiratory illness that has affected economies across the globe, including that of Nigeria.

MyNigeria.com reports that the VSF palliative was in the form of 200 bags set that contained 10kg of rice, 10kg of beans, 10kg of garri, 4kg of vegetable oil and 2 small packets of salt per bag.

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During the course of delivery of the items, additional bags of foodstuff were added to the initial amount by compassionate officials of VSF to the amazement IDPs Camp Uhogua.

Speaking on behalf of the management team of the camp, Coordinator of International Christian Centre (ICCM) and Coordinator of the Camp, Pastor Solomon Folorunsho said the VSF is Godsent for coming at this very critical time.

He said the lockdown caused by Covid-19 has impacted negatively on the welfare of the residents of the Camp.

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The visit to the IDPs Camp Uhogua was a response to an “SOS correspondence they recently received from CSED (Community Sport and Educational Development)” and the VSF intends to visit most states in Nigeria.

According to reports, the current cost of preparing a meal for the four thousand five hundred and seventy-five residents of the Camp is about three hundred thousand naira.

National Coordinator of CSED, Mr Edema Fuludu said that they were forced to reach out to VSF and other bodies having seen the plight of the people, though the CSED work is mainly sport/educational intervention.

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“We cannot afford to walk on by when the children/youths we work with are in dire needs of food and basic daily necessities,” Mr Fuludu said.

Mr Fuludu urged public-spirited individuals, corporate organisations and NGOs to continue to provide palliatives to the IDPs and other needy members of the society, as this is the only way they (vulnerable Nigerians) can survive the hunger and social isolation that has been induced by Covid-19.

He noted that “every effort put in touching the vulnerable in the society is the rent we pay to God for allowing us to live on planet earth.”

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