FG to “punish” state, local govts over double taxation in mining sector – Minister

FG to “punish” state, local govts over double taxation in mining sector – Minister
Written by Maritime First

… Mourns ‘Old Friend of Nigeria’, Walter Carrington***

The Federal Executive Council (FEC), on Wednesday, authorized the finance ministry to directly deduct the federal allocation of any state or local councils found imposing illegal taxes on mining operations.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made this known when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the Council’s virtual meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja.

The decision, according to the minister, followed a memo by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development seeking the Council’s approval to address major challenges facing the nation’s mining industry.

He said the challenges as highlighted by the minister include double taxation, insecurity in parts of the country and collusion between some stakeholders, including some traditional rulers.

He said the menace of double taxation was driving a lot of investors out of the country.

Mohammed, therefore, maintained that the Council’s decision on direct deductions from the federal allocation of any state or local council involved in double taxation, was to save the mining industry.

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He said: “On the issue of double taxation, whereby mining companies are taxed by local and state governments, two decisions were taken.

“One is that the council directed the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning to deduct directly from federal accounts, allocations of states which have deprived Federal Government of Nigeria revenue due to it by the position of illegal taxes and levies on mining companies in their States.

“In other words, if a particular state engages in double taxation, you are imposing illegal taxes on a duly registered mining company, and it is reported to government, the Ministry of Finance will deduct that money from your allocation.

“The intent is to ensure that we don’t scare away investors, they be local or foreign.

“This will go a long way to reassure the investors that Nigeria is a safe place to invest now.

“It was also directed that the National Economic Council should also dialogue with the Governors and let them understand that States can participate in mining as corporate bodies.

“In other words, States can register companies and participate in mining, but they cannot come there as sub-national authorities because the law is very clear.’’

He emphasized that the federal government has the exclusive right to mine and manage all mineral resources.

In the meantime, President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed sadness over the demise of former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington, describing him as a “long time friend of Nigeria and an astute and courageous diplomat.”

The Nigerian leader made his feelings known in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Wednesday.

Buhari, in a tribute, praised the late ambassador whom he said openly supported the people of this country when they fought for the return of democracy following the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential elections won by the late Moshood Abiola.”

He said: ”The story of the Nigerian democracy under the Fourth Republic will not complete without a mention of the heroic roles of the likes of Ambassador Carrington.

“On behalf of my family, the government and people of Nigeria, I commiserate with the family of the deceased, his friends and admirers as well as the government and people of the United States.”


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