President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud OON, SAN paid a courtesy call, yesterday, Tuesday, October 31, 2017, on the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Services, Mr. Babatunde Fowler at the agency’s corporate headquarters in Abuja, where matters of bilateral interest between NBA and FIRS were discussed.
A. B. Mahmoud, OON, SAN, informed the directors of FIRS that NBA “is a professional body of 106,000 registered members in 125 branches across the 36 States of the Federation including the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja,” and that there are about 40,000 practising lawyers spread across the country with an annual intake of 7,000 fresh lawyers into the profession.
The NBA President said that since his tenure commenced on August 26, 2016, he had operated the thematic strategy of Representation, Regulation, Re-engineering and Public Interest (3Rs+P) which had midwifed #ABraveNewBar.
He underscored the necessity for revamping NBA’s regulatory architecture which warranted the setting up of Legal Profession Regulation Review Committee (LPRRC), arguing that: “Unless we have a strong, robust legal profession, you can’t talk of a strong economy in the country.”
He alluded to the NBA2017AGC which had been acclaimed world-wide to be the most successful Annual General Conference in the history of NBA.
He talked of NBA’s engagement with International Bar Association, IBA, as well as Bar Associations of countries like South Africa, Australia and the American Bar Association (ABA) in order to scale up the quality of legal practice in Nigeria, adding that in November, the NBA will go on a trade mission to the United Kingdom.
The NBA President further disclosed that efforts have been made to professionalise the running of NBA’s Secretariat, especially the financial control for which the renowned firm of auditors, KPMG, has been invited to audit its accounts and lend credibility to the financial management.
A.B. Mahmoud, SAN, expressed NBA’s readiness to partner with FIRS in order to encourage general compliance with taxation laws even if this has to involve signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). He explained that the synergy of NBA and FIRS will promote the business of taxation and help strengthen Nigeria’s economy.
Earlier on, the FIRS Chairman had formally welcomed the NBA President and his entourage and expressed a desire for strategic partnership with NBA in order to enhance revenue from taxation.
Finally, the Director of Legal Services Department, Mr. Ike Odume, expressed the view that lawyers should charge Value-Added Tax (VAT) on legal services. He, however, lamented that “most lawyers don’t have tax clearance certificate,” which was an indication that they don’t pay tax in the first instance. He called for an urgent reform of tax laws to conform with the current needs of the country.
The NBA President was accompanied on this visit by a high-powered delegation which included NBA’s General Secretary, Aare Isiaka Abiola Olagunju, Dr. Garba Tetengi, Mni, SAN, the Chief of Staff to NBA President, Muritala Abdul-Rasheed, NBA’s National Treasurer; Aisha Ado Abdullahi, Acting Executive Director of NBA Secretariat; Ms. Salamatu Sidi, Director Legal Services; Mrs. Grace Igyo, Director Bar Services; Mrs. Sarah Ajijola, Policy and Strategic Adviser to the NBA President; Ms Zainab Animashaun and Chief Protocol Officer; Mr. Kazeem Nasir.
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