Chris Steven, Abuja
Trade volume between Nigeria and Singapore recorded a trade volume of N264 billion in the last five years and most of the business deals were from crude oil sales transacted between both countries,the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun revealed on Wednesday.
Beyond oil and gas transactions, Nigeria has in the last couple of years bought goods and various items valuing at least N311 billion from Singapore.
Efforts to consolidate their business relations has seen both countries signing a bilateral agreement. This much was gathered after the Federal Executive Council(FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
The agreement is mainly geared towards avoiding tax evasion and to check double taxation,including the prevention of physical evasion of taxes on income and capital.
The memo was approved by FEC at its 22nd meeting yesterday.
Briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting,Adeosun who was joined at the briefing by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika explained that the agreement was to essentially facilitate more trade volume between Nigeria and Singapore by ensuring that nationals or enterprises from either country are not taxed twice on income or profits derived from each of these countries.
She said: “FEC at its 22nd meeting approved Bilateral Agreement for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of physical evasion of taxes on income and capital benefits between Nigeria and Singapore.
“The objective of the agreement is to facilitate more trade between Nigeria and Singapore by ensuring that nationals or enterprises from either country are not taxed twice on income or profits derived from each of these countries.
“It will 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.
“The basis for which we choose 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 tax twice but it also ensure companies cannot evade tax when trading between the two countries.”
Also,Minister of State for Aviation, Sirika stated that FEC also approved the bilateral air agreements with both Singapore and Qatar.
It will be recalled that president Muhammadu Buhari had in February this year during his visit to Qatar prompted the signing of the agreement to accelerate economic and commercial activities between the two countries.
He noted that the document would soon find its way to the National Assembly for rectification.
“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.
“We thought that in our efforts to also create a hub within Nigeria, the centre of Africa, 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 be defined how we are going to do businesses between Nigeria, Qatar and Singapore.
“The President had approved that air services agreement be signed and now FEC has rectified and approved what was signed as a document and is now on its way to National Assembly for rectification”, Sirika said.