By Folasade Folarin
Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun has said the volume of trade between Nigeria and Singapore reached N846 billion from 2011 to 2015 with absolute balance of trade of N222 billion in favour of Nigeria.
She announced this in Abuja at the signing of an agreement on avoidance of double taxation with Singapore.
The balance of trade net of petroleum export stood at N42 billion in favour of Singapore, while the volume of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from Singapore to Nigeria between 2010 and March 2015 was $908.8 million.
She said Nigeria’s relations with Singapore had been on the increase since 2012, culminating in the first Nigeria-Singapore Business and Investment Forum in 2013.
She said negotiations for the agreement on avoidance of double taxation was held in Singapore in October 2013 but was concluded in October 2014.
She said Singapore was identified as a suitable tax treaty partner for Nigeria because it was currently one of the fastest growing economies in the world with a highly developed and successful free-market economy.
“It operates in a remarkably open and transparent environment, with stable prices and a per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) higher than that of most developed countries.’’
She added that the treaty with Singapore was very important because of its consistency with Nigeria’s on-going efforts to expand its treaty network.
Adeosun said the agreement had clearly spelt out taxing rights of each other in respect of different income derived from each country.
She said it would facilitate inter-state trade, economic and business activities by ensuring that nationals or enterprises of the two states were not taxed twice on the income of profits derived from the other country.
“It will assist prospective investors to know their income tax obligation in the other country as well as available tax incentives.
“It also spells out clearly, tax jurisdiction of each country in respect of all possible areas of business activities which give rise to taxation.’’
Dr Koh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Singapore, said the treaty was important to both countries to increase the trade volume between them.
“We hope that both governments would happily ratify both agreements so that it sends a strong signal to business communities on both sides that both our governments are committed to ease of doing business.
“This will enable companies to begin to look at investments on both sides seriously.’’ (NAN)