FG ratifies bilateral agreement with Singapore, Qatar on taxation, air service

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By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday ratified two bilateral agreements signed separately with Singapore and Qatar by the Federal Government.
The agreement with Singapore is to prevent double taxation and physical evasion of taxes on income and capital benefits between the two countries, while the one with Qatar is on air services, known as Bilateral Air Service Agreement.
Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and her aviation counterpart, Hadi Sirika disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the weekly FEC meeting.
According to the Finance Minister, the objective of the agreement with Singapore was to ensure that nationals and enterprises were not double taxed on profits derived from each of these countries.
She explained that the agreement would attract more foreign direct investment, allow investors to know their tax obligations and guarantee a sustainable tax regime for both countries.
Adeosun also said the choice of Singapore was informed by the fact that it is a major trading partner with Nigeria with oil export of about $264bn in the last five years to that country.
Her words: “‎FEC at its 22nd meeting approved Bilateral Agreement for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of physical evasion of taxes on income and capital benefits between Nigeria and Singapore.
“The objective of the agreement is. To facilitate more trade between Nigeria and Singapore by ensuring that nationals or enterprises from either country are not taxed twice on income or profits derived from each of these countries.
“It will encourage more direct foreign investments into Nigeria, allow investors to know what their tax obligations will be and ensure sustainable tax regime for each country.
“The basis for which we choose sign this agreement with Singapore ‎is that Singapore is a major trading partner with Nigeria. They buy oil from us. Petroleum export to Singapore for the last five years is about $264 billion and we import about N311 billion worth of goods from them. It’s a major trading partner and we needed to have this bilateral agreement.
“Is basically to ensure companies are not taxed twice but it also ensures companies cannot evade tax when trading between the two countries.”
On the BASA signed by Nigeria, Qatar and Singapore Sirika said that the two countries being aviation hub in Asia, would define how business would be done among the three countries.
The Aviation Minister explained that for Nigeria to leverage on the opportunity in its ambition to become the hub in Africa, Qatar became the natural choice for BASA given its robust aviation and carrier ability.
“The President had approved that air services agreement be signed and now FEC has ratified and approved what was signed as a document ‎and is now on its way to National Assembly for ratification,” Sirika explained.

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