The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), on Tuesday disclosed that the Federal Government had commenced processes of granting tax amnesty for defaulters who voluntarily declare their foreign assets.
Malami, while giving the hint at the unveiling ceremony for the programme tagged ‘Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularisation Scheme (VOARS)’, said that the scheme was initiated by Swiss Consortium to facilitate regularization of offshore assets owned by Nigerians.
He explained: “It is to bring to the attention of Nigerians with assets offshore that have not been compliant in terms of tax payment and that has stored their assets outside to encourage them to bring back their assets into Nigeria for the purpose of allowing them to be regularized and for the purpose of allowing them to invest in infrastructure in Nigeria.”
The AGF pointed out that the scheme was initiated in furtherance of the Executive Order 8 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018, adding that the window is for a 12-month period involving a deduction of 35 percent on the voluntarily declared assets.
According to him, under the scheme two and a half percent will be charged as administrative fees for purpose of assessing the funds, and the remaining 63 percent will be registered in the system and become taxable in Nigeria.
Malami projected that the implementation of the scheme would increase Nigeria’s tax base, bridge the infrastructure deficit and increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow for the development of the nation’s infrastructure.
In her remarks, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, said the programme was part of the current efforts by the government to increase revenue collection.
The minister described the scheme as a follow up to the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), which has helped in growing the taxpayers base from 14 million to 19 million with about N30 billion collected during the one-year grace of between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018.