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FEC okays bilateral agreement with Singapore, Qatar

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the bilateral agreement between the federal government and Singapore aimed at avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of physical evasion of taxes on income and capital benefits between the two counties.

This was made known to State House correspondents by Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, at the end of the weekly meeting of the council in Abuja on Wednesday.

She explained that the objective of the agreement was to facilitate more trade between the countries by ensuring that nationals or enterprises from either country are not taxed twice on income or profits derived from each of the countries.

The minister noted that the agreement would 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.

According to her, “the basis for which we choose to 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 N264 billion and we import about N311 billion worth of goods from them. It is a major trading partner and we needed to have this bilateral agreement.

“It is basically to ensure companies are not taxed twice but it also ensures companies cannot evade tax when trading between the two countries.”

Also speaking, the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said FEC approved ‎bilateral air service agreement with the State of Qatar, Singapore and Nigeria.

“Of course, Singapore is becoming the most efficient and the biggest hub around the far eastern part of our globe, serving New Zealand, Australia, Japan, China, Singapore, Indonesia,” he said.

He explained further: “We thought that in our efforts to also create a hub within Nigeria‎, we will leverage on the opportunity to create air services between the two countries. And Qatar being in the Middle East with robust aviation and strong carrier with ability to move goods and services in a very efficient and fast manner and also high value commodities by air, we saw the need to sign some agreement so that it will define how we are going to do businesses between Nigeria, Qatar and Singapore.”

Sirika disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari has already approved that air services agreement will now go to the National Assembly for ratification.