29 January 2013

Nigeria: National Assembly, FIRS Disagree On Abuja Property Tax

The National Assembly and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) have disagreed over the plan by the former to introduce property tax in Abuja.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on FCT, Senator Smart Adeyemi (PDP, Kogi West), said in Abuja yesterday that the National Assembly was determined to halt the high rent of houses in Abuja and introduce a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Property Tax Bill to allow the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to assess, levy and collect taxes on real property within the city.

Adeyemi spoke at the commencement of a two-day public hearing organised by the National Assembly on Bills for Acts to Establish FCT Board of Internal Revenue and FCT Property Tax.

Adeyemi blamed the high property rent in Abuja on the activities of money launderers who, he said, built houses in with free money and desired to recoup their money at all costs.

Speaker House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, whose speech was delivered by the House Committee Chairman on FCT, Jime Emmanuel, lamented that the FIRS charged 4 percent level on the taxes collected on behalf of the FCT, saying "The FCT property tax bill, when passed into law, would expand the revenue bases and create new sources of funds."

But the management of the FIRS, represented by it Coordinating Director Support Services Group, Mr. Osy Chuke, urged the legislature to stop contemplating the property law in order not to infringe on its (FIRS') mandate to collect taxes.

Chuke further disclosed that the FIRS had collected and remitted to the FCT, N100.6billion between 2005 and 2011, and another N30.9billion between January 2012 and January 2013.

FCT Minister Bala Mohammed, in his presentation, said "The scope of the bill would cover residential, commercial, educational/private clinic/hospital, recreational and industrial/filling stations."

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