FCTA Streamlines Revenue Collection for Economic Development
By Laide Akinboade, Abuja
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and the chairmen of the six area councils in Abuja have announced their collaboration to streamline revenue collection and boost economic development.
A 13-Man FCT Joint Revenue Committee (JRC) was formed and inaugurated to spearhead this strategic initiative after a recent stakeholders retreat in Akure, Ondo State.
Under the chairmanship of Haruna Abdullahi, the committee was officially inaugurated in Abuja by the FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello.
The minister emphasized the importance of modernizing the tax system in FCT through stakeholder engagement to promote overall economic growth for the people and residents of the territory.
With a clear mandate and terms of reference, the committee has been entrusted with the critical responsibility of organizing tax administration, addressing revenue concerns, and resolving disputes within the system.
Collaboratively, the committee aims to devise strategies for enhanced revenue generation through efficient collection processes, improved compliance, dispute resolution, monitoring, evaluation, and active stakeholder engagement.
Recognizing the significance of the area councils as the center of unity in FCT, the minister stressed the need for close collaboration with the chairmen.
He highlighted the rapid expansion of FCT and the increasing population, making it a vital investment hub.
He also commended the ongoing dialogue between FCTA and the Area Council Chairmen, facilitated by FCT-IRS, in exploring revenue-raising opportunities.
The minister advised the Area Council Chairmen to prioritize the long-term prosperity of FCT over immediate gains, stating, “It is better to have 10% of a very large, prosperous, affluent cake than to have 100% of something that is close to nothing.”
Speaking on behalf of the FCT ALGON Chairman and Kwali Area Council Chairman, Danladi Chiya expressed his commitment to ensuring the success of FCT-IRS.
He pledged the support of the six Area Councils in making the revenue collection process streamlined and the tax system modernized, heralding a new era of ease of doing business in FCT.
Chairman Haruna Abdullahi, also the Acting Executive Chairman of FCT Internal Revenue Service (FCT-IRS), acknowledged the ongoing efforts in harmonizing revenue collection and modernizing the tax system.
He emphasized the incremental approach to achieve these goals and revealed that the inauguration of the committee formalized their next steps in FCT.
Abdullahi highlighted the integral role of FCT-IRS in driving the process and acknowledged the support of the Area Councils and other stakeholders.
The committee’s establishment, provided for in the FCT-IRS Act, aims to harmonize revenue collection seamlessly in alignment with ease of doing business.
Hon. Lukman Agboola Dabiri, Secretary of Economic Planning, Revenue Generation, and Public-Private Partnership, commended the committee’s inauguration as a significant milestone in the economic development of FCT. Given its unique position as the seat of power and a symbol of national unity, the FCT’s progress will set an example for other states to emulate. Stakeholders from FCT Administration, Area Councils, FCT-IRS, private sector, and civil society organizations have all contributed to this collective effort.
CAC Boss Highlights Achievements Under Buhari Regime
Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) says major strides were achieved by the commission under President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
The Registrar-General of CAC, Alhaji Garba Abubakar, said this in an interview in Abuja.
“All what we have been able to achieve, all the reforms from my appointment to the amendment of CAMA, to all the regulations that we have issued, were done under this administration.
“And it has been fantastic.We have never gotten to this level in our company’s new development in Nigeria, and we have never had a registry that is fully digitised before now.
“And for the first time, Nigeria is recognised by the Comity of Nations as a country that has a publicly available register.No government has achieved that before,” Abubakar said.
According to the registrar-general, Nigeria has become a reference point globally; we are even invited to speak globally on some of these reforms at no cost to Nigeria.
He reiterated that a delegation was coming from other countries to attend the inauguration of CAC’s Beneficial Ownership Register.
He said the register was one of the landmark achievements of the present administration, which would support the anti-corruption initiative of the government.
Abubakar said: “The delegation is coming to understudy what we have done in the commission. So the government has excelled.(NAN)
Finance Minister, AGF Risk Arrest over $200m Consultancy Fees Payment
By Ubong Ukpong, Abuja
The House of Representatives, yesterday, insisted that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, (AGF), Abubakar Malami and the Finance minister, Zainab Ahmed Shamsuna, must appear before it, to explain their roles in the alleged payment of $200million to two private firms as consultancy service fees on whistle blowers recoveries.
While Malami was advised to clear himself of allegations that he approved the payment, the Finance minister, Shamsuna was to explain her role in the said approvals and payment without providing details of actual recoveries from whistle blowers.
The decision was reached by the House of Representatives Adhoc Committee investigating the sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil amounting to over $2.4 billion and crude oil export to global destinations from 2014 to date.
The committee Chairman, Hon. Mark Gbillah, gave the ruling at the resumed hearing of the investigation, saying that both ministers have been uncooperative with the panel despite several letters of invitation.
“We have not been getting any form of cooperation from the Ministry of Finance and Attorney General’s office regarding this investigation despite series of correspondents sent to them on this matters that we are investigating. We’ve seen documentations from the Accountant General’s office, where the Minister Finance approved the payment of substantial significant amount of money to so-called whistle blowers where details of monies recovered were not provided.
“We’ve heard Media reports by the federal government indicating that millions of dollars were recovered through whistle blower revelations on behalf of the country. But we as a parliament have not seen where those monies were routed through the constitutional appropriation process before they were expended. The constitution is very clear about the receipt and expenditure of Nigeria’s money,” he said.
Particularly, the committee Chairman said the panel was interested in knowing where the Attorney General derived his powers to approve payment of funds meant for the federation without recourse to the legislature through formal request by the executive.
“We’ve looked at the functions of the Attorney General’s office and we’ve not seen any statutory powers provided for the Attorney General by the constitution to determine how Nigeria’s money should be spent.
“There was an incident about a whistle blower who made a formal report to Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) about $200m paid into two companies account Biz Plus, and GSCL allegedly for consultancy services, which allegedly were approved, they said by the Attorney General’s office on the approval of Mr. President.
“We need the Honourable Minister of Finance, and the Attorney General of the Federation to appear before this House to provide clarity on the inflows that have come in from whistle blowers recoveries, and about these monies that were recovered, and the CBN is required to provide information that has been provided by these whistle blowers about substantial amounts of monies that were paid supposedly and allegedly for consultancy services when there’s no record of any agreement entered into by those companies regarding any services.
“These are very weigthy allegations and as a responsible House, we owe everybody fair hearing and a benefit of doubt, and this is what we’ve been seeking to accord those who have been mentioned in these allegations. But we find it uncautionable that the Honourable Minister of Financial and Attorney General of Federation have not bothered to respond to any of the correspondence from the committee and this in our opinion shows a lack of regard not only to the Institution of House, but that of the National Assembly as a whole.
“We will make this further appeal to the Honourable Minister of Finance and the Attorney General of the Federation and all others who have not responded or who have not honoured the Committee’s invitations to do so in the national interest, and in the event that they fail to do so, we will be constrained to invoke the instrument if summons and all other necessary powers the National Assembly can exercise in this regard.
“But we want to make this a formal and final notice to those concerned, the Honourable Minister of Finance and the Attorney General of the Federation to cause appearance before the committee to give evidence with regard to the allegations that have been laid with regard to the questions the committee has requested for them to answer and to respond to,” the chairman submitted.
Strengthening Social Protection Key to Africa’s Development – IMF, African Caucus
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and African Caucus say strengthening social protection is key to Africa’s development.
This is contained in a statement issued by the IMF Press Centre on Monday after the African Consultative Group Meeting held at the ongoing World Bank Group/IMF 2023 Spring Meetings in Washington DC.
The statement said Mr Olavo Correia, Cabo Verde’s Finance Minister and Chair of the African Caucus and Ms Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, IMF, made the assertion after the meeting.
“African countries are grappling with the impact of weakening global economic activity as the multiple shocks affecting the global economy persist.
“They include the impact of the war in Ukraine that has pushed up international food and fuel prices; tighter monetary and financial conditions combined with financial sector turbulence; and increasingly severe climate-related events.
“All of these follow the COVID-19 pandemic, which had already reduced fiscal and external buffers and caused scarring effects on many African countries.
The executives said macroeconomic imbalances had become more prominent as exchange rate depreciation, higher global interest rates and elevated sovereign spreads made financing more expensive or even unaffordable.
“Together with declining foreign aid budgets and lower investment flows, the region is confronted with a severe financing squeeze.
They said the public debt-to-Gross Domestic Product ratio was now on average for the region above 60 per cent, a level last seen in the early 2000s, raising concerns about debt sustainability in many countries.
The executives said in fact, nearly two-thirds of the region’s low-income countries were at high risk or already in debt distress in 2022.
“The group reiterated the need to address rising debt vulnerabilities and continue strengthening the international debt resolution architecture, including improving the Common Framework for debt treatments.
“The IMF continues to explore ways to make debt resolution more efficient. To this end, the IMF, together with the World Bank and the India G20 Presidency, have launched a Global Sovereign Debt Roundtable.
“The group also agreed that strengthening social protection is critical. Social safety nets can promote higher and more inclusive growth by improving education and health outcomes.
“Also by enhancing human capital labour or market productivity, and encouraging vulnerable households to invest in income-generating activities that also benefit local communities
The group also said leveraging digital infrastructure, such as mobile phone platforms, could help to increase efficiency and ensure social support was well targeted to the most vulnerable.
They said in such a shock-prone environment, building resilience, including to climate change, remained fundamental for the region.
“In the face of large financing gaps to meet climate adaptation needs, it is imperative to unlock concessional climate finance and attract private climate finance. Green bonds could provide a useful tool.
The group agreed that governments in the region, the international community, and the private sector should work cooperatively to respond to the region’s challenges.
They said increasing fiscal space in a growth-friendly way would help create space for much-needed social and infrastructure expenditure.
“Mobilising additional external financing to support the recovery remains critical.
The executives said deepening domestic financial markets, strengthening regional integration, and reducing trade and cross-border barriers, would help to build resilience in the face of external shocks.
“As well as leveraging the opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area. ”
They also said improving the quality of institutions will be needed to close infrastructure gaps.
“The IMF remains steadfastly committed to the region and continues to work towards ensuring that its concessional lending toolkit for low-income countries is flexible, effective, and well-resourced.
“The Resilience and Sustainability Trust is now operational, providing longer-term affordable financing to address longer-term challenges, including climate change and pandemic preparedness.
They said Rwanda was one of the first beneficiaries, with several other countries in the pipeline.
The executive said the recently launched Food Shock Window was also providing emergency financing to countries facing urgent balance of payments needs related to the global food crisis.
“To continue to meet the needs of low-income countries in the region, there was an urgent need to replenish the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust and put it on a sustainable footing.
“This is a key goal for the Annual Meetings.
“Finally, the IMF continues to provide significant capacity development to its African members to help preserve macroeconomic and financial stability and build economic resilience.”
Report says that the African Consultative Group comprises the Fund Governors of a subset of 12 African countries belonging to the African Caucus (African finance ministers and central bank governors) and Fund management.
It was formed in 2007 to enhance the IMF’s policy dialogue with the African Caucus. (NAN)
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