Governor (Sen. Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State

Delta delights taxpayers, offers waivers to SMEs, private schools

*Delta State receives $4.5million World Bank grant for budget discipline, says Information Commissioner

*Allocates 17.1 percent of revised Budget 2020 to COVID-19 expenditure

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As part of measures to cushion the negative impacts of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on individuals and business, the Delta State Government of Nigeria has said that Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in the state would benefit from the tax waivers.

Mr. Charles Aniagwu, Honourable Commissioner for Information, Delta State, who disclosed this to newsmen at a news conference Wednesday, July 29, in Asaba, the state capital, said the state likewise received $4.5 million (about N1.6 billon) World Bank grant for budget discipline.

The Commissioner said that the tax waivers would enable the small-scale businesses, including private schools, hotels and agro-based businesses to remain afloat despite the ravaging consequences of the pandemic.

According him, the state government is not unmindful of the impacts of the COVID-19 on the people, which have significantly dented the nation’s economy.

The tax waivers would enable the businesses keep prices of goods and services on check, he noted, saying, the pandemic has impacted the economy of the country and the private business since March 2020.

Aniagwu said: “At the beginning as a government, we appealed to the privilege individuals to support the government to reach out to the less privilege in the society.

“We have provided palliatives, particularly in the area of food items to reach out to the poor and vulnerable across the 25 local government of the state.

“Today, the government has been able to put up some tax incentives as palliatives for SMEs in the state to mitigate the effect of the pandemic on businesses and to make lives easier for our people.”

On the latest tax waivers, Mr. Monday Onyeme, Chairman of Delta State Board of Internal Revenue, said private schools, transporters, private hospitals, eateries among other would benefit from the tax incentive.

Onyeme stated that all outstanding audit liabilities from 2011 to 2019 by all captured businesses will no longer attract interest or any penalty for the period.

“Also, the state government has approved waivers for charges on late submissions of returns.

“And for businesses that we have not mentioned, anyone that feels that it is necessary for them to benefit from government palliatives is free to apply as the revenue authority will look at their demands.”

Dr. Barry Gbe, Honourable Commissioner for Economic Planning in the state, disclosed that the state government has apportioned 17.1 percent of its revised 2020 budget to COVID-19 expenditure.

Gbe said that the tax relief had been weighed by the government, adding that its impact had been absorbed accordingly.

Since the state government is responsible to the plight of its people, the 2020 year’s budget had to be reviewed to reflect the realities of the time, he added.

The Commissioner for Economic Planning noted that the state initial budget of N395 billion for the year under review had been reduced to N282 billion due to the pandemic.

He said: “In the revised budget, 17 per cent is focused on SMEs and the informal Sectors for businesses to survive and thrive despite the pandemic.

“The World Bank grant of $4.5 million was given to Delta for display of fiscal and financial discipline in 2019.”

The pandemic no doubt impacted the state economy, and the state government was prepared for the palliatives to cushion the impact on the private sector, said Mr. Fidelis Tilije, Honourable Commissioner for Finance, Delta State.

Tilije stressed that the state approved amendment to the tax law to check challenges of multiple taxations in the state.

“Today, all forms of tax assessment and collections are done by the board,” he noted.

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