The European Union and the British Council in conjunction with the Nigerian regulatory agencies have trained Edo-based Civil Society Organizations on tax compliance and the roles of regulatory agencies.
The two-day Agencies Citizenship Driven Transformation (ACT) programme drew facilitators from the Economic and Financial Crime Commission(EFCC), Federal Inland Revenue Services( FIRS) and Corporate Affairs Commission(CAC) who engaged civil society and non-governmental organizations in capacity-building, roles of regulatory agencies and tax compliance.
Speaking, the former Director General, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and a facilitator at the weekend, Prof. Adedeji Adekunle said the programme which involves sector regulators focused on the area of compliance with taxation and anti-money laundering. He said the reason is to enhance knowledge of civil society organizations on the rules in the sector.
“What prompted this programme was that about two years ago. It was noticed by the European Union and other partners that the level of awareness by civil society and other non-governmental organizations was very low, and probably because in the past, even regulatory agencies did not pay much attention to NGOs and Civil Society Organizations, but now the activities of Civil Society Organizations have increased and the role and impact of their activities can no longer be ignored.
” So, there is a need for them to be properly enlightened on the rules and the regulatory framework.”
Also, Mr Newton Otsemaye, the state focal person of the Agencies and Citizenship Driven Transformation (ACT) programme said the four years programme by the EU, which is supported by the British Council seeks to strengthen CSO and NGOs in the area of the internal relationship between themselves and relationship with regulatory agencies across ten states in Nigeria.
“What we are doing today is to look at the regulatory framework, eg. the CAMA, FIRS, EFCC and a host of others and see how these regulators can be friendly with CSOs and NGOs, but you must understand that most of these CSOs don’t understand how these agencies work in Nigeria, so there is capacity deficiency In this regard.
“This is what this training seeks to bridge, mostly in terms of information and knowledge. We are here to enlighten the CSO and NGO on how the environment is regulated in Edo State.”
One of the participants, Onome Otueroro, the Executive Director of Christabel Otueroro Foundation, said the training has given him enough enlightenment on the regulatory framework in the NGO space, which was a challenge his organization have been having with the regulators, but that now he has been equipped to deal with the challenges.
Another participant, Beatrice Arheghaw of Behshaw Youth Organization said the training has given her a better understanding of the working of these regulatory agencies,
” Before now, I noticed that we were being faulted for many things, but now the regulatory agencies have given us better information on what we needed to do and how to go about it.” She said.