Lagos State Government, through the state Internal Revenue Service, LIRS, has commenced the implementation of additional reliefs aimed at cushioning the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic on individuals and businesses in the state.
In a similar measure, the state government said at least 2,743 farmers in the state would receive agricultural inputs and productive assets next week Tuesday, under its 2020 Agricultural Value Chains Empowerment Programme.
On the tax relief, the Executive Chairman, LIRS, Mr. Ayodele Subair, said, “the following measures are to be implemented to further ease the impact of the pandemic on our esteemed taxpayers in Lagos State starting from Thursday, July 16, 2020.
“LIRS shall allow on a case by case basis, payment of outstanding liabilities in installments to ease cash flow challenges that may affect taxpayers. Taxpayers are to enjoy a waiver of penalty for late payment of liabilities under PAYE (Pay As You Earn) that was due during the period of March-May, 2020 when the state was under COVID-19 lockdown.”
According to Subair, the additional measures and incentives were the sequel to the agency’s initial three-month extension of the deadline for filing of annual returns (from March 31 to June 30, 2020).
He continued: “Also, a waiver of penalties due on late filing of 2020 annual tax returns known as ‘Form A’ will be granted. A remarkable waiver of interest and penalty on liabilities arising from 2009 to 2015 tax audit for taxpayers who can pay up on or before December 31, 2020, will be implemented.
“In appreciation of taxpayers that have supported the State Government in the fight against the pandemic, the LIRS through the Lagos State Government will be granting tax credit of 20% of all cash and kind donations made towards Covid-19 by individuals resident in the State for the 2021 Year of Assessment (subject to a cap of 35 percent of the tax due).”
Subair added that additional payment channels have been opened up to make payment of taxes easier, simpler, and more convenient for all.
He stated that video conferencing has been adopted as the default mode for conducting Tax Audit Reconciliation Committee [TARC] meetings in consonance with social distancing advisories from Government and other relevant health authorities.
Subair, therefore, encouraged taxpayers to make use of the agency’s digital communication platforms to get updates on its operations and details of all tax payment platforms.
He enjoined all businesses and individuals resident in Lagos State to take advantage of the opportunity and reciprocate the kind gestures of the State Government by discharging their civic responsibilities through prompt payment of all taxes and levies due to the state.
“For further inquiries, taxpayers are encouraged to visit the LIRS website, www.lirs.gov.ng, and its various social media platforms @lirsgovng or by calling the Customer Care Centre on 0700 CALL LIRS (0700-2255-5477),” Subair stated.
Empowerment of farmers
The state Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya who disclosed this on Tuesday, explained that farmers, agro-processors, fishermen, butchers, and marketers would all benefit from the empowerment programme as productive assets peculiar to all the agricultural value chains would be made available to them at no cost.
According to her, the Agricultural Value Chains Empowerment Programme has been designed as a means of channeling the needed support to smallholder farmers who are actively engaged in the various Agricultural Value Chains thereby creating further wealth and job opportunities in farming communities.
Olusanya explained that the empowerment programme aimed to provide the necessary inputs and assets needed by farmers to improve food production in the State in an effort targeted toward increasing the State’s self-sufficiency to 40 percent of food needs by 2023.
“The overall aim of the Agricultural Value Chains Empowerment Programme is to provide the necessary agricultural inputs and productive assets to farmers as a means of achieving improved food production and supply as well as delivering optimum economic benefits to farmers and other operators,” she stated.
The Acting Commissioner expressed hope that the Empowerment Programme would significantly improve the standard of living of farmers, fishermen, marketers, butchers, marketers, and agro-processors in the State through the expansion of their food production activities.
She pointed out that the Programme was not only targeted at farmers who would be the direct beneficiaries but also at service providers, transporters, input manufacturers and suppliers within the system whose services would be required for the successful implementation of the project.
“The Empowerment Programme would further contribute to the achievement of the vision of ‘Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy’ and also the attainment of United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2, 5, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 17 of no poverty, zero hunger, gender equality, decent work, and economic growth, among others, Okusanya stated.
She noted that since the inception of the empowerment programme in 2014, a total of 11,233 farmers, fishermen, butchers, processors, and marketers had been empowered adding that as a result food supply in Lagos has been raised from 18 percent in 2014 to 25 percent of total food demand in 2019.
According to her, only representatives of farmer’s Associations would receive the agricultural inputs on behalf of members of their Associations at the event to accommodate the social distancing rule of the State Government.
Olusanya said, the implementation of the programme, because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing regulations recommended by the government to control the spread of the disease, informed decision to invite only representatives of farmer’s associations to receive the agricultural inputs on behalf of members of their associations at the event and thereafter input redemption by other beneficiaries will take place in three other centres at Agege, Ikorodu and Epe.