" ITREALMS: FG to penalise IT fund tax defaulters - ITREALMS

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

FG to penalise IT fund tax defaulters - ITREALMS

THE Federal Government will penalise any organisation that refuses to pay the one per cent levy on profit before tax (PBT) payable by specified companies whose annual turn over is more than N1 million, as stipulated by the recently assented Information Technology (IT) Act by immediate past President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, reports ITREALMS.

Chief executive of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Prof. Cleopas Officer Angaye, disclosed this in Lagos at the interactive session jointly organised by his office and Joint Action Committee on Information and Communications Technology Awareness and Development (JACITAD) to present the Act to stakeholders.

Responding to questions, Prof. Angaye said that his office has the mandate under the IT Act also known as NITDA Act to establish an IT Development Fund, which stipulates that the fund shall be recapitalised from 1 per cent levy on profit before tax to be paid by specified companies whose annual turn over is more than N1m.

He said that the tax is deductible and all donations made to NITDA or to the fund are tax deductible, just as it is an offense to refuse to pay the levy after assessment by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

“It’s an offence for any of those firm earning over N1m not to comply,” he declared.

The fund, according to him, would be expended in carrying out the implementation and developmental process of the agency as charged by the Act.

Prof. Angaye noted that the Act which came into being since Friday, April 24, 2007 that his office has since then set up a five-man implementation committee made up of member of Computer Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), a lawyer and three others drawn from NITDA to take a second look at the IT law and advice the agency on the best way to carry out the implementation process so as to ensure that every interest group is taken care of.

The NITDA boss pointed out that ever since NITDA was established by fiat of the federal government in 2001 it has been surrounded with scope and mandate that had made it an issue of conjecture, but stressed that now the Act is here, it has now clearly makes specific provisions as to the scope of its mandate.

Prof. Angaye also gave the highlights of the Act as made up of eight parts to include part 1 addressing the issue of establishment of the agency, part 2 on composition of the governing board, powers and functions, which must not exceed 19 stakeholders.

Equally, he said, the part 3 dwelt on staff and structure of the agency, part 4 on the establishment of the NITDA Endowment Fund, part 5 harped on Information Technology Parks, while part 6 was on financial provisions, and part seven was on legal proceedings as well as part eight was on miscellaneous.

Based on the new Act, Prof. Angaye enthused that the agency now has powers to create a frame work for the planning, research, development, standardisation, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of information technology practices, activities and systems in Nigeria and all matters related thereto and for that purpose, and which without detracting from the generality of the foregoing shall include providing universal access for IT and systems penetration including rural, urban and under-served areas.

This is in addition to providing guidelines to facilitate the establishment and maintenance of appropriate infrastructure for information technology and systems among others.

Remmy Nweke/EDoP

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