Nigerians abroad have sent home over $35bn between January and November 2016. Many want to invest in Agriculture and food processing but fear taxes.
Abike Dairi visits FIRS boss Babatunde Fowler
Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Senior Special Assistant to the President Buhari on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Matters, last Tuesday said Nigerians abroad have sent home over $35bn between January 2016 and now.
She revealed this when she paid a visit to Mr Fowler, the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the FIRS management team in Abuja.
Nigerians abroad have surpassed the $21bn they sent home last year.
The $35bn remittance is the highest recorded in Africa so far this year and the third highest worldwide Dabiri said.
Nigerians Abroad fear tax Regime
Dabiri-Erewa pointed the attention of the FIRS management to tax fears raised by Nigerians abroad, stating that this might frustrate the government objective of encouraging them to invest back home especially whether there will be tax incentives for Nigerians returning back home to deal in agriculture and other businesses.
They also voiced fears over the need to pay tax on Nigerian passports.
“At this time of recession in Nigeria, Nigerians in diaspora have a critical role to play. So we are looking for them; we are meeting them and it is good news about Nigerians abroad. As we speak with you now, about 20 investors are in the country looking for various areas to invest in.” Dabiri-Erewa said.
Fowler alleviates Tax Fears
In response, Fowler said the agency hasn’t imposed any fresh tax on the collection of passports, and what was required from any adult applying for passport was proof of tax compliance.
“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. Fowler said
In Nigeria at the moment, there is no direct tax on passports, all you have to do is just to show proof of tax payment and you’re entitled to all the services of government.
The FIRS chairman explained that a lot of tax incentives exist for Nigerians abroad to take advantage of when they invest in the nation.
Dabiri-Erewa said that the Disapora bond would soon be floated to support foreign investors.