No plan to impose new taxes: FG •Eyes 7,000 megawatts of electricity

The Federal Government is not considering increasing VAT at this time, but to increase the coverage of VAT. Mr Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, gave the assurance in Abuja on Sunday.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that VAT was presently covering 10 per cent of the total areas expected at the rate of five per cent.

“We want to increase the coverage to 20 per cent because we believed that by just increasing the coverage, we are going to get in more revenue.

“So, I don’t think government is contemplating, at least not at the Federal government leave, presidency level, I do not think anybody is contemplating new taxes.

“But of course, we are looking at how our people don’t have to pay double taxes,” he said.

Akande, however, said that the council was looking at a whole lot of things happening in the business environment in order to encourage people to invest and to promote their businesses.

He said that government also wants to create on stop shop for those who want to get all kinds of approval for business purposes.

According to him, we have installed one-stop-shop government policy approach.

“That is if you are a businessman and you have dealings with government.

“You do not have to go to Ministry of Finance today, Federal Inland Revenue Service or CAC tomorrow, among others you just have to go to one agent.

“Whatever you need from those agencies of government, the one stop shop will be the one that will do the running around.”

He said that the government was also trying to stop double taxation.

He assured Nigerians that government was doing its best to ensure a conducive environment for businesses to thrive.

Akande also gave the assurance that government will step up power generation to 7,000 megawatts soon.

that government was working assiduously to step up power generation from 5,000mw to 7,000mw.

He said that the country began to experience low electricity supply due to pipeline vandalism and the bombings in the Niger Delta region.

“When the administration came in as a matter of fact we were doing less than 300mw.

“So we were not doing 5,000mw when we came in; actually, we were the ones that took it to 5000 mw for the first time in the history of this country.

“In February, we took it to 5,000mw but unfortunately it was that same February that the bombing of the oil pipelines started, so it brought down the output.”

He explained that government has embarked on incremental power, a system to increase power supply in a different way.

“So a lot of transmission facilities and infrastructure for power are being rejuvenated, trying to tap more from gas.

“So, you are going to be seeing more of gas-to-power, government is rejuvenating quite a number of them,” he said.

He said that the Federal Government had signed Memorandum of Understanding with companies that would supply gas that would ultimately increase the output to 500 mw.

Akande said that by rejuvenating some of the transmission facilities and infrastructure government was doing what is called “incremental power” in order to bring up the megawatt.

He said government would be carrying these processes in the geo political zones of the country in order to provide constant and sustainable electricity to the people.

“Government is working, it is one of the areas we are working very diligently on a daily basis to sort out the problems,” he said.

He said that there were plans also by government to effect public, private partnership to ensure that Mambila project came on stream in power generation.

On the issues of idle power plants, Akande explained that a lot of the plants, facilities were not being utilised.

“The power plants are all disconnected and we are trying to fix them so that the plants will bring significant increment to the output.

“So, government is trying to see how this problem can be solved and we believed that there would be an improvement in power sector,” he said.

•Photo shows Laolu Akande.

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