Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), a new tax initiative in Nigeria, is to be launched by the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo on 29 June 2017.
According to a statement in Abuja on Friday, the initiative outlining the Federal Government’s plan to increase tax awareness and compliance, and grant tax payers a time-limited opportunity to regularise their tax status without penalty.
The statement quoted the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, to have said the “plan is to be executed jointly by Federal and State Governments, concentrates on the national duty of all Nigerian companies and citizens to pay their taxes, wherever their income is earned, wherever they reside and no matter how rich they are.”
Adeosun added that “One-off opportunity for evaders to avoid the full force of the law – Between 1 July and 31 December 2017 – evaders can regularise their tax status in exchange for immunity from prosecution of tax offences and a tax audit, and be absolved from penalty charges and interest”
“In line with other proven, international schemes: Recent, similar schemes in 2016 have been implemented successfully in India, Indonesia and South Africa. VAIDS will bring Nigeria in line with international best practice and contribute to worldwide efforts to tackle corruption.
“Much needed funds will be generated and transparently invested – anticipated funds to be raised are at least US$1 billion, which will reduce Nigeria’s borrowing needs, allow investment in vital infrastructure and spur development
“During the last eight years, Nigeria has failed to reduce its debt levels despite high oil prices and nominal GDP growth. We have inherited a situation where our debt and underdevelopment is getting worse not better. This cannot continue.”
“Neither can the behaviour of some of our richest citizens and multinationals operating in Nigeria – who seem to consider paying tax to be optional. From 2018, international law will make it easier than ever to track these evaders down and punish them.”
“This scheme is in line with similar initiatives launched during 2016 in India, Indonesia and South Africa. We know they work, we know it’s the right thing to do and the Treasury desperately needs the money.”
“Finally, the proceeds of this scheme will not disappear. We will provide regular updates on the funds collected to date, and how those funds are being put to very transparent use.”