The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mohammed Nami said that some Ministries, Departments, and Agencies have refused to pay 7.5 percent Value Added Tax. Contracts awarded by the government offices were still based on the old five percent VAT rate, the FIRS boss said Monday at a meeting with the Hon. James Faleke’s chaired House of Representatives’ Committee on Finance. Some multinational companies operating in Nigeria were also accused of not paying the required tax to the government. Nami said those companies hide under the issue of pioneer status to get tax exemption for a period of five years instead of the three years contained in the laws. The FIRS boss also decried that some business premises in the country were resisting efforts by the tax agency to deploy technology in the collection of government revenue by connecting them to a common server where it can monitor their transaction as is done across the globe. The issue of revenue leakages is a huge challenge for the FIRS; Nigeria lags behind South Africa in its tax collections to GDP growth despite being the continent’s biggest continent number. While tax to GDP growth in Nigeria stands at about 6.3 percent, tax to GDP in South Africa is 27 percent.

Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMSL), a maritime security company, says it has rescued a Chinese vessel from a pirate attack. In a statement, the company said it “saved Nigeria from what would have been a monumental international embarrassment” with the operation. It quoted Fleetmon, a public vessel data collection, to have reported that the Hungarian Glory, a general cargo ship which is managed by Tianjin Xinhai Intl. Ship Management was attacked by pirates at the coastal side of Lagos on Thursday, March 5. “The ship was drifting after the attack, not responding to contact requests. According to track, the ship started moving at around 1300 UTC Mar 6, after about an hour went adrift again,” it quoted Fleetmon to have reported. “As of 1500 UTC Mar 6, the ship was still adrift or moving at slow speed, Nigerian Navy patrol boat NNS SPARROW approaching – in nearly 24 hours after the alert, in the vicinity of Lagos with 23 crew reportedly all Chinese.” OMSL said it deployed its NNS Sparrow to carry out the rescue operation.

The Senate has passed a revised version of the bill seeking to repeal and re-enact the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA). The upper legislative chamber passed the bill after considering the report of its committee on trade and investment on Tuesday. The revised bill enables the attorney-general of the federation to approve the registration of companies limited by guarantee, that is incorporated firms without share capital which are mostly not-for-profit organisations. The bill was earlier passed by the previous Senate, but it was not assented to by President Buhari who sought some amendment to one of its sections. He had asked the national assembly to among other things update the bill to: “Preserve the powers of the Attorney-General of the Federation to approve the registration of companies limited by guarantee and reflect the ease of doing business principles in a veto order (1) of 2017 on the promotion of transparency and efficiency in the business environment.” The piece of legislation is said to be Nigeria’s largest business reform bill in 28 years, because of the changes it seeks to introduce in the area of business registration.

Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo have confirmed the first case of coronavirus in the country. The patient according to reports is a Belgian national who had been under quarantine at the main airport in the capital, Kinshasa. DRC thus becomes the 11th African country to record a case. They are the second in the southern African region, the first being South Africa that has seven confirmed cases. The country had last weekend started implementing a compulsory quarantine for nationals from three virus-infected countries: France, Italy, Germany and China. Health Ministry officials wrote to the embassies of the affected countries stressing that persons with symptoms were to be quarantined at a state-run facility.