The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has implored wealthy Nigerians to take advantage of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme to regularise their tax status and escape unsavoury consequences.
She said this in Enugu State when the state government hosted officials of VAIDS.
Data on property, bank accounts, shareholdings and other income sources of individuals and corporate entities has been compiled by the federal government she also said.
According to her, VAIDS was conceived to allow Nigerian companies and individuals to do what is right for the country, Enugu State and the citizens.
Adeosun said, “From our records, there seems to be a few big men and big women from this part of the country, who may need to think very carefully about making a VAIDS declaration.
“We have been compiling data on property, bank accounts, shareholdings and other sources that suggest that many people have not been paying the right taxes. VAIDS is an opportunity to regularise.”
The minister added that huge sums of money had been moved out of Nigeria without the owners paying a kobo in tax.
The event was attended by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, members of the state’s executive council, legislature and traditional rulers.
The Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr. Tunde Fowler, was represented at the event by the Executive Secretary of the Joint Tax Board, Oseni Elamah.
Also present were representatives of the business community in the state. They included the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture; Nsukka Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture; bank executives; lawyers; market traders; electronic dealers; hospital owners; school owners and transport owners associations.
Meanwhile, the process of participation in the VAIDS has been made easier for new taxpayers as well as existing ones, who have not been paying appropriate taxes.
According to the VAIDS Office in the Federal Ministry of Finance, the first step for new taxpayers is to apply for a Tax Identification Number, which will be fast-tracked.