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Nigeria receive $35bn diaspora remittances in 2016 – Dabiri Erewa

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Nigeria receive $35bn diaspora remittances in 2016 – Dabiri Erewa

WITH two weeks to the end of the year and many Nigerians abroad expected to travel home for the yuletide, it came to light on Tuesday that citizens in diaspora sent $35 billion so far.
This is as Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) gave assurance that Nigerians living abroad will be favourably considered if they apply for tax waivers in setting up businesses at home.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora matters Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa made the remittances revelation when she paid a courtesy visit to the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Babatunde Fowler and other members of his executive board.
“In 2016 they remitted $35 billion, which is higher than what was remitted in 2015. This is the highest in Africa and the third largest in the world remittance by Nigerians living abroad.”
She raised concerns of Nigerians in diaspora about issues of excessive taxation in the country.
“There is a lot of talks about your organisation from diasporans concerning taxes whether there will be taxes incentives for Nigerians coming back home to engage in agriculture and other businesses, what are the plans and projects for them. Recently, they expressed concern over reports that we need to pay tax on our passports.”
She noted that “both the FIRS and her office need to communicate with Nigerians in diaspora, stressing that “there should be collaboration between both offices to disseminate information in case they have questions or want answers.”
While responding, Fowler explained that there is no direct tax on passports per se “it’s just to show evidence of paying tax and of course you’re entitled to all the services of government.
“What we are saying is if you want any immigration services, either you want to renew your passport or get a new one so long as you’re an adult and you’re making an income you just have to show evidence of tax payment.
According to him, Nigerians abroad “have 99.9 per cent tax compliance just because there are consequences for not paying taxes in those countries.
“If they decide to come as investors we do have incentives for pioneer status or waivers and once they make their application to the federal Ministry of Finance it would be looked into and if it is in an area of pioneer status am sure it would be granted and we also do not believe in double taxation.”
He also added that Nigerians, both home and abroad “only pay tax on income of profit, so, if you do not make profit you do not pay tax, so also if you don’t have an income. It is only right that those who come to the country to do business and make profit pay tax.”

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