Acting President Yemi Osinbajo will launch the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) which will regularise taxpayers’ statii in exchange for immunity from prosecution for tax offences.
According to a statement from t e Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, on Friday, VAIDS which will be launched on Thursday, June 29, outlines the Federal Government’s plan to increase tax awareness and compliance.
The plan, to be executed jointly by federal and state governments, also concentrates on the national duty of all Nigerian companies and citizens to pay their taxes.
According to the statement, the plan is a one-off opportunity for tax evaders to avoid the full force of the law between July 1 and December 31, as well as grant taxpayers a time-limited opportunity to regularise their tax status without penalty.
Adeosun said Nigeria has failed to reduce its debt levels in the last eight years, despite high oil prices and nominal GDP growth.
She lamented that Nigerians have inherited a “situation where our debt and underdevelopment is getting worse, not better”, adding that “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,” the minister said.