Assessing the Benefits Of e-Payment For Remittance Of LIRS Consumption Tax

Business

In the bid to maximise the benefits that are inherent in e-payment and multi-modal payment portals, the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, (LIRS), has unveiled an automated invoicing system and technology device, Electronic Revenue Assurance system, (ERA).

The readiness to maximise the benefits inherent in e-payment and multi-modal payment portals was unveiledat a stakeholders’ meeting held with hotel and business owners in the hospitality and tourism sector of Lagos statebythe Lagos State revenue agency at the Banquet Hall, State House, Alausa, Ikeja on Thursday.

The meeting was anchored with the theme “Fiscalisation of hotel occupancy and restaurant consumption tax law”, and  the benefit of improving profit, sustenance of cash flow and reduction in revenue leakage for hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, bars and event centre owners in Lagos state through the ERA device was highlighted.

In his speech at the meeting where the Electronic Revenue Assurance System, (ERA), was official unveiled, His Excellency, Mr. AkinwunmiAmbode, Governor of Lagos State ably represented by the  Deputy Governor of Lagos state, Dr. IdiatOlurantiAdebule reiterated his commitment to make Lagos state one of the largest economy and smartest cities in the world.

The governor enjoined the residents and business owners in Lagos state to key into the new ERA by promptly paying their consumption taxes through the newly introduced technology

”Funds are required to enable government to actualise its objective of the provision of adequate infrastructure and services for the residents of expected of a mega city. Prompt payment of taxes is the way in which government is able to finance its activities.”

In his contribution at the meeting, Mr. AyodeleSubair,  the Chairman of LIRS, stated that “The hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, fast food outlets, bars, event centers among others serve as agents of the government for the purpose of remittance of 5% consumption tax collected from customers through the LIRS new technology, Electronic Revenue Assurance System (ERA).

He assured that the commencement of the new system takes effect immediately as LIRS officers will be visiting hospitality places to install the software and train their staff on the use of the new device.

For the sake of clarity, the Electronic Revenue Assurance System (ERA) is a software application/device that issues invoices and receipts to consumers bearing a unique QR code.

The receipt will also contain detailing of the items and/or services ordered and an embedded automation of Consumption Tax remittance in real time.

Mr. AkinyemiAshade, the Commissioner for Finance, in his speech said “The hotel occupancy and restaurant consumption tax Law is not a new law but an existing law.  The device is to ensure efficiency and compliance of remittance of consumption tax from the owners of Hotel, Restaurants, Nightclub and Events centres in the state.

He assured that the protection of consumers and collecting agents’ details are confidential and will be used only for tax purposes.

Mr. AdekunleAkilo, the President of Lagos Hoteliers Association, LHA, in his reaction to the newly introduced device, suggested that sensitisation and training process for effective utilisation of the device should be continuous to help business owners and consumers in the hospitality industry to fully embrace the technology.

In the same vein, Mrs. KehindeKamson, President of Association of Fast Food Confectioners of Nigeria, (AFFCN),  said: “We will support Lagos state government on compliance and 100% remittance. However, the government through its agency, LIRS should create a level playing ground for all levels of business in the hospitality industry by initiating this device across the board especially the informal sector or unstructured businesses.”

Against the foregoing background, DAILY INDEPENDENT sought to sample the opinions of stakeholders and experts on the benefits that are inherent in the adoption of e-payment system for the remittance of consumption tax.

As unanimously explained by all the representatives of the Lagos State Government at the event, the incentive for consumption taxpayers would be enormous as the LIRS is determined to give back to loyal consumption taxpayers who request for their receipts generated from the ERA System for an opportunity to participate in a draw and win attractive prizes.

In view of the inherent benefits, the LIRS urges consumers and customers of hospitality places in Lagos State to always demand for the ERA system receipts in their overall interest and benefits, to qualify for the participation of the draw and win attractive prizes.

Mr. Abel Igharo, an IT expert, applauded LIRS’s payment initiative, and enthused that, “It presents a number of advantages, including cost and time savings, increased sales and reduced transaction costs”, adding that “the fear that it is vulnerable to Internet fraud, and that it could potentially increase business expenses are not true. He said a good payment system is usually designed in such a way that information provided at any time is encrypted.

Mr. Gabriel Oloyede, an economist, said: “The dimension of the benefits that are inherent in the payment system is tripartite as the business owners in the hospitality industry stand to gain, the consumers stand to gain and the government also stands to gain.” He added that the mode of payment engenders a win-win situation.

Oloyede’s views were in the same vein corroborated by other respondents that spoke to DAILY INDEPENDENT.

Maxwell Udoma, a restaurant manager in Lagos, said business owners in the hospitality sector of the economy stand to benefit most as the history of sales transaction and payments can easily be seen online and retrieved, adding that the ERA system receipts can equally be printed and documented.

He said since payment transactions can be viewed or accessed online that the business owner can monitor sales trend and volume even when he or she is out of the operational base of the business.

As to its benefit to the consumers, Mr. Henry Edokpaigbe, an Insurer, said: “Consumption Tax encourages saving culture and discourages profligate consumption.”

Regarding its benefits to the state government, Mr. Kelvin Onyemakonor, a statistician, said with the new mode of remittance of consumption tax in Lagos that the era of tax under-payment and non-remittance tax by owners of hotels, restaurants, bars and event centresto the state government, should be considered gone.

Despite the benefits that are inherent in consumption tax, representative of two prominent associations in the hospitality sector of the economy spoke at the meeting. They are the Lagos Hoteliers Association, LHA and Association of Fast Food Confectioners of Nigeria, AFFCON. They stressed that harmonisation of both taxes would reduce burden on consumers.

Speaking on behalf of the stakeholders, President of hoteliers in Lagos, Prince AdekunleAkilo, said: “The law should be fair to the stakeholders. We believe that after paying 5 per cent of VAT, you are asking us to pay another 5 percent consumption tax. It is double taxation. It is apparently complicating and duplication of the law.

“It is good that you want to collect consumption tax but the state should have liaised with the federal government to exclude Lagos from states paying VAT. With this, the state will only collect consumption tax and pay the federal government certain per cent from it.”

In the same vein, Mrs. KehindeKamson, President of AFFCON stated, “We will support Lagos state government on compliance and 100% remittance. However, the government through its agency, LIRS should create a level playing ground for all levels of business in the hospitality industry by initiating this device across the board especially the informal sector or unstructured businesses.

All the stakeholders at the event were assured that the state government was readily disposed to create an enabling environment and a level playing ground for them in the course of operating their businesses