First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has urged business owners in the country to constantly update their knowledge on emerging fiscal developments in the corporate environment, particularly on taxation as a strategic step towards improving their businesses’ competitiveness and overall performance.
This is even as the leading lender also charged regulatory intuitions, agencies and other stakeholders in the nation’s Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) ecosystem to synergize their relationship such that SME entrepreneurs will better understand the country’s tax laws and the applicability to their operations
The bank gave these charges during a virtual tax seminar with the theme ‘Tax and Your Business: An In-depth Discussion’ it organised in partnership with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
The seminar which featured over 500 registered SME participants, served as a veritable platform to equip entrepreneurs with requisite knowledge on taxation by promoting the exchange of ideas between tax regulators and businesses on existing and emerging tax matters to ensure compliance and avoid sanctions.
In her keynote address at the parley, the FIRS’ Director, Taxpayer Service Department, Mrs. Saadatu Yero, spoke on the importance of obtaining Tax Identification Number (TIN) by SMEs, saying that “the TIN helps businesses to make easy payment over different platforms such as remita, e-transact and Paydirect. It is also an important requirement when businesses request for credit note for tax reconciliation, offsetting of tax debt and claim processing.”
She encouraged businesses and taxpayers to use the agency’s electronic payment channels, such as the e-filing, TIN e-registration and e-payment of stamp duties among others.
The FIRS’ Acting Director, Special Taxes Department, Mallam Adamu Kudu, explained to the participants the functions of the agency, particularly its role in tax assessment, collection and accounting as well as digitisation of its operations.
He clarified: “In order for the FIRS to discharge its functions, the taxation process has been redesigned to encourage voluntary compliance. These include compliance with registration, filing, payment and other civic obligations connected to these duties. Most of the obligations have been automated not only to induce efficiency in service delivery, but to also reduce compliance burden on taxpayers”.
Also speaking about how her banker views MSMEs, FCMB’s Divisional Head, Transaction Banking, Mrs. Rolayo Akhigbe, said as an inclusive lender that places a lot of importance on best practices, the Bank considered it imperative to ensure that customers in the SME segment follow due process and compliance in the conduct of their businesses.
According to her, “as the dynamics of taxation continues to change in Nigeria, we recognize that many businesses, especially SMEs, are not equipped with the requisite information and knowledge to discharge their responsibilities in this area appropriately.
“It is based on this reality that we decided to organise this virtual seminar, which will go a long way towards helping SMEs to understand taxation and the processes involved better. Having built a strong base in the SME segment, we will continue to partner with relevant stakeholders to further build the capacity of businesses in a sustainable manner”, the banker added.
In his remarks, the bank’s Group Head, Business Banking, Mr. George Ogbonnaya, assured SMEs that the lender remained fully committed to building capacity in the area of tax and encouraged business owners to visit the Bank’s digital platform to get free access to tax consultants and resource materials for the purposes of growing their businesses.
Other experts who spoke at the virtual seminar include, Partner, Pedabo Professional Services, Mr. Killian Khanoba; Chief Executive Officer, Square Bee Four Nigeria Limited, Mr. Efe Sodje; the Acting Director, Special Taxes Department of the Service, Mr. Adamu Kudu; Divisional Head, Transaction Banking, FCMB, Mrs. Rolayo Akhigbe; Group Head, Business Banking, Mr. George Ogbonnaya; and the bank’s Head, SME Digital Innovation, Mr. Dennis Ezaga.