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How I Boosted Nasarawa’s IGR-Chair NSIRS



Ahmed Yakubu Muhammad, is the executive chairman of the Nasarawa State Internal Revenue Service (NSIRS). He spoke with Igba Kuza on the successes and challenges of the revenue board under his watch

  By March 2022 it will be four years since you and other members of the Nasarawa State Revenue Service (NSIRS) were appointed; what is the journey so far?  

I came in together with the members and secretary to the Nasarawa State Internal Revenue Service (NSIRS).
We were appointed on 15th march, 2018 and resumed duty on March 22, 2018.
Immediately we undertook visitation to all the offices across the state and discovered that there was serious infrastructure deficit, poor working conditions, lack of operational vehicles/motorcycles, Infact, the situation was so pathetic that a single motorcycle was shared among four area tax offices within Karu, Masaka, Mararaba and Ado Axis.

Secondly, the former investment building that serve as revenue house, an the office accommodation required total repairs and rehabilitation; this was compounded by the fact that there were four rain storms which completely damaged the roofing.

Other facilities including equipment, computers, furniture and fittings were also affected by the storms. But the roofing, ceiling, doors were fixed awaiting the release of funds for the second phase of the work.

This state of infrastructure is the same or even worse in the whole zonal and area offices as almost all the buildings were rented except for Awe, Keana, Obi, Doma, Akwanga, Keffi and Nasarawa zonal offices. Infact, these offices are not befitting of modern day tax offices. But despite challenges we have increased the monthly internally generated revenue (IGR) from N550million to N1.5 billion through introduction and enforcement of property tax, withholding tax on rent, pool betting and gaming, development levy on individuals and capital gain tax. However, establishment of revenue courts by the state government is enhancing revenue collection as nearly forty thousand cases were won.  

Apart from increasing the IGR to over a billion naira, can you state other achievements of NSIRS under you?  

It may interest you to know that when we came in, we stepped up staff monthly impress which cut across all cadres of staff including zonal, liaison and Area Tax Offices, sponsorship of NSIRS staff to acquire their PhD, Msc, Bsc and other professional membership like ICAN, ANAN, CITN, JTB etc. We also monetize Sallah and Christmas gifts to staff of the board; introduction of internet services across zonal and area tax offices of the board, installation of office intercom to ease communication in the board headquarters, deployment of armed personnel to man the board office and executive chairman’s house. Other achievements are: Installation of airconditioners in all the offices and a standby functional office generator that runs 24/7; establishment of revenue courts across the three senatorial districts of the state. Also the establishment of two liaison offices,  eight area tax offices, up to date maintenance of the office operational vehicles and acquisition of office equipment like desktop and laptop computers for staff of the board. That’s not all, we embarked on massive engagement of consultants who are presently adding value to the collection of IGR for the state government, training and re-training of staff outside the shores of the state, frequent payments of staff  as at when due, production and introduction of t-shirts and caps to staff to look smart on every Thursday of the week, engagement of more casual staff for the the purpose of increasing the IGR collection., massive arrest of criminals who engaged in fake boards documents, enlightenment programmes of the board activities on the mass media, creation of Electronic National Driving License(ENDL) centers in Akwanga, Keffi and Lafia and massive renovation of ENDL centers, board offices and staff quarters.  

  What are the challenges of the board ?  

Non implementation of autonomy that is financial/administration autonomy because all the states in the North central zone of the country are autonomous except Nasarawa state. We therefore request for implementation of the autonomy.

This autonomy covers both financial and administrative independence which could greatly improve the IGR. Therefore, we recommend implementation of the administration of revenue law 2020 as amended. As it is, the five million naira monthly overhead cost is grossly inadequate to manage the business of generating revenue for the state.

This is so because allowances of all auxiliary staff, duty travel allowances (DTA) for official trips for all categories of staff affected, taxpayer education, media and other cost of communication and periodic or monthly organized tax drive, maintenance, repairs and fuelling of vehicles and generators for headquarters, zonal and area tax offices, maintenance repairs of electrical appliances including computers, and other office equipments, staff monthly impress for executive chairman, board members secretary, directors, liaison officers (Lagos and Abuja), unit heads, zonal and area tax officers are quite huge, hence, the need to improve the monthly overhead cost through full implementation of the autonomy.

The staff strength of the board  is grossly inadequate to cover the entire state. Moreover half of the workforce are non technical staff. The board is compelled to rely on auxiliary staff like corps members, students on industrial attachment and N-power which is not sustainable and unhealthy for sensitive office like the state revenue board, hence, the engagement of 245 highly skilled auxiliary staff who are mostly graduates which is a serious drain on the five million (N5,000,000.00) overhead.

We also recommend regularization of the auxiliary staff to allow for effective enumeration, assessment and collection of the state IGR. The immediate past administration was very supportive of the Nasarawa state Internal Revenue Service, similarly, we appreciate a fairly used Hilux released to us by his Excellency Governor Abdullahi Sule.

Most of the vehicles have worked for  7-10 years and therefore depreciation sets. Another thing is training. The three basic training of the Joint Tax Board (Intermediate, preliminary and final course on inspectors of taxes) is rich in contents but not sufficient for a planned modern tax office and therefore there should be a well packaged additional training locally and internationally for the staff to meet the ever increasing challenges of the modern tax administration. On this note, we appreciate his excellency governor Abdullahi Sule’s recent approval for the chairman to travel to the UK as recommended by the Joint Tax Board (JTB).  

  How are you tackling these challenges?

  At the moment, the Nasarawa State Internal Revenue Service has embarked on complete consolidation and automation of the state IGR from assessment, collection and maintenance of taxes and subsequently, the introduction of bank 3D central billing system deployment to accelerate the process but we look forward to the spreading of process to cover the entire state MDAs.

 Furthermore, the collection of IGR in the state is carefully coordinated by the NSIRS for accountability, transparency and consolidation. It may interest the people to know that as a result of the reform going on in the tax administration in the state, between January 2018- September 2021, a total of N40,261,377,683.46 was generated as against N17,858,863,097.69 by NSIRS between January 2014 to December 2017, representing a 44.36% increase in IGR. Similarly, We have between 2018 to September, 2021 recovered the sum of N1,440,909,959.19 and N8,961,523,462.88 from the banking sector and federal MDAs workers respectively, totalling N10,402,433,422.07.

At the moment, we are also working on recovery from the post IPPIS period with an expectation of over N20 billion which is to be achieved in collaboration with the JTB office of the Accountant General of the federation and the federal ministry of finance.  More so, the NSIRS under my leadership has spearheaded the passing into law of the Nasarawa state Revenue Harmonization Law 2020, recovery of over N300 billion for Nasarawa state government and the introduction of central billing system which has reduced leakages of revenue drastically and automation of the processes.      

Business News

CBN Shakes Up Banking Sector: A Paradigm Shift Unveiled




By Ademola Oyetunji 

In a surprising turn of events on Wednesday, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) dissolved the boards of three prominent commercial banks – Keystone, Polaris, and Union Bank. This move, although unanticipated, transpired despite the Central Bank’s recent endorsement of these banks’ financial soundness.

Governor Olayemi Cardoso, at his inaugural address during the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) annual dinner last year, had lauded Nigeria’s financial sector’s resilience in 2023.

Stress tests conducted on the banking industry indicated its strength under various economic scenarios.
However, Cardoso highlighted the need for banks to reassess their responsible banking framework, a sentiment echoed by President Tinubu.

President Tinubu’s evident discontent with the Godwin Emefiele-led CBN triggered a comprehensive review of the financial system. A special investigator, Jim Obazee, was appointed to conduct a forensic investigation into Emefiele’s tenure, with damning revelations emerging. Recent developments suggest the initiation of a full-blown financial system reform.

The CBN’s dissolution announcement and the subsequent appointment of new executives for the affected banks, including Yetunde Oni, Mannir U. Ringim, Hassan Imam, Chioma A. Mang, Lawal M. Omokayode, and Chris Onyeka Ofikulu, might mark the beginning of implementing the investigation’s recommendations – a significant cleanup of the financial sector.

Allegations surfaced during the investigation, suggesting non-cooperation from some bank executives and Emefiele’s questionable acquisitions through proxies and cronies. Cardoso may have secured presidential approval for the CBN’s decisive action.

The CBN cited various infractions by the banks, including regulatory non-compliance, corporate governance failures, and activities threatening financial stability. Despite the challenges, the CBN assured the public of depositors’ fund safety and its commitment to upholding a safe, sound, and robust financial system.

The Special Investigator’s report revealed documents pointing to Emefiele’s involvement in Titan Trust Bank and Union Banks’ acquisitions with ill-gotten wealth. The CBN’s swift replacement of the ousted chief executives received widespread commendation, especially from high-net-worth stakeholders aiming to avert a crisis of confidence within the affected banks.

Adewale Aderounmu, an industrialist, applauded the CBN for implementing effective policies under Olayemi Cardoso’s leadership, despite detractors’ actions against the Naira. Ayomide Deepak, an Abuja-based stockbroker, welcomed the action but emphasized the need for caution in handling revelations from the investigation to prevent further economic challenges.

As the CBN wields its regulatory hammer on these banks, the hope is that other bank executives and investors will learn valuable lessons for the sake of the economy. The CBN’s action is perceived as a strategic move aimed at revitalizing the economy and financial system, not a mere vendetta.

*Ademola Oyetunji writes from Ibadan.

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Business News

Firm Blazes The Trail To Revolutionise  Nigeria’s Transport Sector




Independent Capital, a visionary project finance firm has blazed the  trail in the country by championing green innovation and facilitating as well as  supporting green innovative projects in Nigeria.

This is coming on the heels of the plan by the Nigerian government to introduce gas-powered vehicles in the country as a fallout of the removal of fuel subsidies.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the firm, Dr.

George Nwangwu who announced this in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, said it was aimed at  a transformative leap towards sustainable transportation in the country.

He said with the company’s fusion of financial expertise, a profound understanding of environmental and social impact, a commitment to reducing carbon emissions and  improving transportation quality, “the company aims to reshape the nation’s mobility landscape for a cleaner and more prosperous future”,adding that “it is charting new territories in the realm of sustainable finance by announcing ambitious plans that signify a paradigm shift in Nigeria’s approach to eco-friendly initiatives”.

Similarly, Nwangwu said, its strategic approach combines financial expertise with a profound understanding of environmental and social impact, positioning the firm as a catalyst for positive change in the country’s transportation sector.

He added that the  cornerstone of Independent Capital’s visionary plans involves the unbundling of its three-wheeler Electric Vehicle (e-trike) which signals a significant move towards eco-conscious mobility.

 The CEO further said that the company is committed  to establishing a robust network of solar-powered charging infrastructure to support the operations of its e-trike fleet as the  innovative strategy not only tackles the obstacles associated with adopting electric vehicles but  would also actively contribute to the establishment of a sustainable energy ecosystem.

“We are dedicated to reducing carbon emissions, alleviating congestion and improving the overall quality of transportation for the Nigerian population. Independent Capital aims to create a greener and more efficient transportation ecosystem that enhances the lives of individuals and contributes to a cleaner environment, “he noted.

According to the firm’s CEO, in response to the recent removal of fuel subsidies, the Nigerian market is experiencing a fundamental shift, creating an opportune moment for innovative solutions in the e-mobility sector which “Independent Capital is well-positioned to capitalize on this shift by introducing sustainable transportation alternatives that cater to the evolving needs of the market”.

Also, speaking, the Chief Finance Officer (CFO) of the company, Mr.Moses Saromi said “with the e-mobility sector undergoing significant developments, driven by environmental concerns, technological advancements and shifting government policies our firm is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of transportation in Nigeria,”

He revealed that  the demand for e-mobility solutions in Nigeria is projected to grow exponentially by 15% CAGR and thus, Independent Capital stands at the forefront of providing sustainable alternatives to traditional vehicles and that with  a focus on e-trikes, the company strategically positions itself to capture a significant share of the expanding market to  meet the diverse needs of individual consumers and delivery services to the Nigerian society.

He added that in  the pursuit of a cleaner and more efficient transportation ecosystem, Independent Capital remains a driving force in the nation’s journey towards a greener future.

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Business News

Dangote Refinery Port Facility Receives Maiden Crude Cargo




Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemicals plant has purchased 1 million barrels of Agbami crude grade from Shell International Trading and Shipping Company Limited (STASCO), one of the largest trading companies in Nigeria as well as globally, trading over 8 million barrels of crude oil per day.

The STASCO cargo contained 1 million barrels from Agbami and sailed to Dangote Refinery’s Single Point Mooring (SPM) where it was discharged into the refinery’s crude oil tanks.

The maiden 1 million barrels, which represent the first phase of the 6 million barrels of crude oil to be supplied to Dangote Petroleum Refinery by a range of suppliers, should sustain the initial 350,000 barrels per day to be processed by the facility.

The next four cargoes will be supplied by the NNPC in two to three weeks and the final of the six cargoes will be supplied by ExxonMobil.

This supply will facilitate the initial run of the refinery as well as kick-start the production of diesel, aviation fuel, and LPG before subsequently progressing to the production of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).

This latest development will play a pivotal role in alleviating the fuel supply challenges faced by Nigeria as well as the West African countries.

Designed for 100% Nigerian crude with the flexibility to process other crudes, the 650,000 barrels per day Dangote Petroleum Refinery can process most African crude grades as well as Middle Eastern Arab Light and even US Light tight oil as well as crude from other countries.

Dangote Petroleum Refinery can meet 100% of the Nigeria’s requirement of all refined products, gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and aviation jet, and also have surplus of each of these products for export.

The refinery was built to take crude through its two SPMs located 25 kilometres from the shore and to discharge petroleum products through three separate SPMs. In addition, the refinery has the capacity to load 2,900 trucks a day at its truck loading gantries.

Dangote Refinery has a self-sufficient marine facility with the ability to handle the largest vessel globally available. In addition, all products from the refinery will conform to Euro V specifications.

The refinery is designed to comply with US EPA, European emission norms, and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) emission/effluent norms as well as African Refiners and Distribution Association (ARDA) standards.

President of Dangote Group, Mr. Aliko Dangote stated: “We are delighted to have reached this significant milestone. This is an important achievement for our country as it demonstrates our ability to develop and deliver large capital projects. Our focus over the coming months is to ramp up the refinery to its full capacity. I look forward to the next significant milestone when we deliver the first batch of products to the Nigerian market.”

Country Chairman of Shell Companies in Nigeria, Mr. Osagie Okunbor stated: “We welcome the startup of a refinery that is designed to produce gasoline, diesel, and low-sulphur fuels for Nigeria and across West Africa and are happy to be enabling it.”

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