Mr Edosa Oviawe, Country Manager, Global Rights, says there is a need for the government to drive incentives for companies operating in Nigeria to make donations to the nonprofit sector
Oviawe, who is also the Chairman, Steering Committee on Civil Society Regulatory Environment, said this on Wednesday in Abuja at the first national conference on civil society operational environment in Nigeria.
“There is a need for the government to drive incentives for companies operating in Nigeria to make donations to the nonprofit sector.
“The donations are to be deducted from the company’s tax liability as stipulated by the Company Income Tax Regulation,” he said.
According to him, part of the responsibility of regulators was to ensure civil society organisation (CSOs) have access to needed information on existing guidelines and obligations of the non-profit sector.
He said that such would ensure total compliance with such regulations.
“It is therefore imperative for the regulators to constantly engage the CSOs sector with a view to providing updates
“Also, providing needed assistance in compliance with the seemingly multiple regulations including complying with the Financial Reporting Council,” Oviawe said.
He advocated the need to address the issue of multiple reporting on CSOs by ensuring uniform reporting to the regulatory bodies.
Oviawe said that CSOs in Nigeria were currently burdened with multiple regulatory laws and some of such laws have ”very insidious provisions that tend to stifle the CSOs’ operational environment.
“CSOs in Nigeria have always been regulated, but recently introduced regulations such as CAMA and the proposed NGO regulation bill have provisions that cast doubt on the intentions of the government.
“These kinds of regulations are what continued to put both regulatory agencies and civil society actors at loggerheads,” he said.
According to him, the issue of CSOs taxation in Nigeria was ”still shrouded in a lot of myths and misconceptions.”
He said that there was a dearth of information on the tax responsibilities of CSOs in Nigeria.
“It is therefore expedient to accentuate that although CSOs are exempted from paying Company Income Tax (CIT).
“Where they do not engage in any trade or business, they are however mandated to file CIT returns, Value Added Tax (VAT) returns.
“Also withholding Tax (WHT) returns where taxes of corporate service providers have been withheld, whether or not they access grants or carry out projects,” Oviawe said.
He said that the Federal and State Inland Revenue Services have an obligation to constantly engage the non-profit in providing an understanding of the existing tax responsibilities and comprehensive guides to aid compliance.
“The item 32 part 1 of the second schedule of the 1999 constitution that deals with incorporation, regulation and winding up of bodies corporate has to be moved from the exclusive list to the concurrent list of the Constitution.
“It empowers state governments with the legal backing to deal with such issues as the provision currently impedes the country resilience and innovation index.
“It is not only relevant but imperative to have harmonization of extant laws regulating CSOs operations in Nigeria,’’ he said.