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VAT collection: Rivers Not In A Fight With Federal Government – Wike



Rivers’ Nyesom Wike, has said the state is not in a feud with the federal government over the collection of value-added tax (VAT).

Governor Wike said this on Sunday in Abuja at a public lecture to mark the 60th birthday of Ahmed Raji, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and some state governments are currently embroiled in a legal tussle over VAT collection.

But Wike who was represented at the event by Zacchaeus Adangor, attorney-general of Rivers, said the state was only trying to pursue what was right and legitimate within the ambit of the constitution.

“I have heard a lot of comments being made that we are fighting the federal government. There is no desire or any intention of the Rivers government to fight the federal government.

“The principle of co-equality is fundamental to a federal arrangement. That principle leads to the principle of autonomy; autonomy leads to fiscal autonomy and fiscal autonomy leads to fiscal federalism.

“When you put all the principles together, what it means is that each level of government, whether federal or state, is co-equal because none derives its life from the other. They both derive their lives from the constitution because they have co-equality.

“That is the fundamental aspect of fiscal federalism and until we get it, we will continue this journey of talking without result, but I think that the court has a role to play.

“The court can lay this crisis and controversy to rest when it makes a pronouncement,” he said.


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Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria Suspends Some Officials, As Nigeria Lift Ban On Emirates Airlines



Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, General Manager, Corporate Affairs of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has confirmed the suspension of some officials for allegedly extorting a passenger at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos State.

In a statement in Lagos on Saturday, Yakubu said some of the suspended officials are staff of Aviation Security and Customer Service departments of the Authority.

She said the action was in line with management’s determination to rid the nation’s airport of corrupt officials and to serve as a deterrent to other bad eggs in the system who are bent on tarnishing the image of the country.

Yakubu added that the On Duty Card of their accomplice from the Nigeria Immigration Service had been withdrawn.

Meanwhile, the Federal government has lifted the ban placed on Emirates Airlines over the COVID-19 travel requirements on Nigerian passengers.

The Federal Government had restricted the airline ten months ago following the disagreements.

Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation, who announced the lifting of the ban, said the lifting of the ban is a product of lengthy negotiations between Nigeria and the airline and the airline had removed some of its travelling conditions for Nigeria.

“Today, we received communications from Emirates removing some of the conditions for travelling for which we had concerns.

“This subsequent lifting of the ban is a product of lengthy negotiations between us and them.

“Having done that, it is necessary to lift the ban on Emirates,” he said.




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CBN Interventions Well Thought-out Responses — Nwanisobi



The Director of Corporate Communications, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, says the apex bank’s 37 intervention programmes in the economy are responses to socio-economic situations and exigencies.

He spoke at an Editors Master Class with the theme: Central Bank of Nigeria Interventions as Fulcrum for Economic Diversification,  organised by the Centre for Financial Journalism in Lagos.

CBN interventions are in healthcare, agriculture, creative industry, infrastructure, among others

Nwanisobi said the interventions were also in line with the pledge of CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, to run a people-centric central bank upon assumption of office.

He said that the interventions were a conscious effort by the CBN to ensure that all Nigerians, whatever their status, benefit from the economy.

The interventions, according to him, do not just happen but are well-thought-out responses by the CBN to exigencies, and practical efforts to diversify the economy.

He said the interventions were responses to market failures, stressing that no responsible central bank would fold its hands and watch the nation’s economy go down.

Nwanisobi who traced the evolution of interventions by the CBN from 1979, said the global financial crisis of 2008/2009 threw up multiple interventions by the CBN which also reflected the responses in other countries.

He argued that but for the CBN interventions, the economy would not have grown post-global crisis era.

“Interventions are necessary. Without interventions where would the Nigerian economy be by now?” he asked rhetorically.

“Who would have thought that a time would come in Nigeria and the rest of the world that economies would experience total shutdown as we experienced in the case of Covid-19?

“Just imagine what would have happened if CBN did not respond with well-planned intervention in the containment of Covid-19 and the attendant financial crisis,” the CBN spokesman said.

Mr. Olabimtan Adebowale of the Development Finance Department of CBN, in his presentation, outlined the benefits of the various interventions which he described as “development finance interventions”.

He said they were well-planned and targeted at meeting specific needs, all aimed at growing the economy and improving the living standards of the people.

Adebowale said the interventions were meant to increase lending to high-impact and employment-elastic sectors of the economy, diversify the economic base, create jobs, and improve macroeconomic stability.

He said they were also to encourage exports and conserve foreign exchange reserves, expand output of agriculture, manufacturing and services sectors, provide access to affordable credit, and boost the capacity of MSMEs in priority sectors of the economy.

According to Adebowale, one of the interventions aimed at boosting local production and creating employment is the new financial instrument — “The 100 for 100 PPP – Policy on Production and Productivity”.

Under the policy, the CBN will advertise, screen, scrutinize and financially support 100 targeted private sector companies in 100 days.

The programme took-off on Nov. 1, and would roll over every 100 days with new set of 100 companies.

The master class also featured a presentation and practical session on onboarding of the eNaira.

Recall that the eNaira was launched on Oct. 25 by President Muhammadu Buhari to complement the physical naira and help deepen the digital economy space.

Mr. Yusuf Abduljelil, in his presentation, said Nigeria was the first African nation to introduce a central bank digital currency.

The CBN official assured that the eNaira platform had enough layers of encryption and integrity to protect it from hackers.

During the master class, participants were able to onboard seamlessly to the eNaira platform, following which it received positive reviews from them.




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Federal Government Launches Web Portal For Sale Of Houses



As a move to facilitate ownership of affordable housing via homeownership and rental schemes in urban and rural areas, the Federal Government has launched an online platform for its national mass housing projects across the states.

Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works and Housing disclosed this at the public launch of the Web portal designed for the sale of the completed mass housing project built by the Ministry across the states of the federation.

Fashola said the least amount of house selling on the scheme is N7.2 million, while the highest-selling is N16.19 million.

“We introduced the online portal from which the national housing programme will be offered to members of the public. The forms are online and allow for more openness, limit human interventions, and hold us more accountable. The endgame is an economic objective.

“The initiative which started with a survey in 2015 was also instrumental to the implementation of the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

“The initiative which is a pilot project is not its only solution for providing housing as there were over 5,000 units of houses at different stages of completion.

“This is the first time we have a platform that every Nigerian has access to. This provides an opportunity for all Nigerians to apply and ensure a fair process of allocation,” he added.

The minister said the requirements for the application are: Passport photograph, current tax clearance payslip, letter of recommendation, means of identification, evidence of 10 per cent initial deposit (for mortgage subscribers only).

“Applicants can also take a virtual tour of the property they are interested in. They can apply and register with email and phone numbers. Upon verification, they can complete their application.

“We have included the abridged drawings of each estate. When an allocation is booked on the online portal, it will show that it is no longer available. This way we avoid duplicity. The backend online staff on this.

“We have different house types which are the result of a survey we undertook. There are 1,2,3 bedroom semi-detached bungalows. It is not only the house but it also has adjoining lands. There are also 1,2,3 bedrooms in the condominium.

“We will soon start the official handover and tape cutting as the subscribers come in. We have maintenance and facilities managers in all the estates. We encourage people to pay through mortgages,” he said.



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