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Jos Main Market Controversy: ‘Prepare for Seamless Handing Over’ -YOWICAN Tells Lalong

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From Jude Dangwam, Jos

The Youth Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria Plateau State Chapter (YOWICAN) has called on Governor Simon Lalong to prepare for a seamless handing over as the applauses  seem to be fading away on a daily basis with the recent display of desperation to rebuild the burnt Jos International Market using Jaiz Bank.

The body stressed that the Lalong -led administration should stand down any further engagement with JAIZ Bank and focus on the ongoing projects in the state and also work hard towards returning students of the State Tertiary institutions back on campus, settle all outstanding salaries, pensions and other emoluments of it’s civil servants

The youth group stated this in a statement jointly signed by the Chairman, Deacon Markus Audu Kanda, the Vice Chairman Barr  Panmak Mark Lere and the State Secretary, Nehemiah Nanmwa Micheal and made available to Journalists Tuesday in Jos the Plateau State capital.

The statement reads in part: “We again remain resolute to restate our position on this issue in the interest of Plateau State and her inhabitants, that the Government should stand down any further engagement with JAIZ Bank on this issue and focus on ongoing projects in the state.

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“Work hard towards returning students of the State Tertiary institutions back on campus, settle all outstanding salaries, pensions and other emoluments of it’s civil servants, as well as begin to prepare for a seamless handing over as the applause seem to fade away by each display of desperation on this subject” .

The body insisted that Plateau stakeholders at the meeting did not endorse the rebuilding of the Jos Main Market using the leaked template with Jaiz Bank “falsely transmitted by the Director of Press and Public Affairs to the Governor of Plateau State, Dr. Makut Simon Macham.”

They questioned the rationale behind the misrepresentation of the outcome of the meeting , which had the presence of the Former Military Governor of Plateau State, Samuel Atukum during who’s tenure the International Market was completed and commissioned and told the Governor Simon Lalong at the meeting to use the remaining time he had in office to continue with consultations.

“What about the revered elder statesman, His Excellency, the Former Military Administrator of Plateau State, Admiral Samuel Bitrus Atukum, during whose time as the Governor of Plateau State the Jos Main Market was completed and commissioned.

“He categorically celebrated the fact that no MOU has been signed with JAIZ Bank on the market and clearly cautioned the Plateau State Government not to go on with that arrangement, rather, use the remaining time in office to widely consult on the issue and allow the next administration to handle the issue of the Market? Is His Excellency not part of the stakeholders? What happened to this view strongly expressed by him?” they questioned.

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 Bill to Amend CBN Act goes for 2nd Reading in Senate

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The Senate on Tuesday at plenary, passed for second reading, a bill to amend the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act.

Leading debate on the general principles of the bill, its sponsor, Sen. Sadiq Umar (APC-Kwara), said the bill was to enable the appointment of a person other than the Governor as Chairman of the Board of CBN.

He said the bill was also designed to divest the powers of the board on determining and fixing salaries and allowances of its members.

According to him, the bill if passed, will be used to determine consideration and approval of the annual budget of the CBN.

Suleiman said the envisaged new chairman of the proposed board of the CBN, would have powers to determine salaries and allowances of members, while the Governor focused on administrative duties of the bank.

In her contribution, Sen. Betty Apiafi (PDP-Rivers), called for a holistic amendment of the CBN Act, adding that the CBN governor went out of his way to indicate interest to participate in politics while in office.

She said the development was not the trend in the world, given that election materials were kept in CBN.

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Senators Enyinnaya Abaribe (APGA- Abia), James Manager (PDP-Delta), Orji-Kalu (APC-Abia) kicked against the hasty amendments to the bill, while Sen. Barau Jubril (APC-Kano), supported the bill in his submission.

President of Senate, Ahmad Lawan, however, cautioned senators to focus on the proposed amendment rather than deliberating on alleged attempt by the CBN governor to contest as that wasn’t part of the general principles of the bill.

Lawan, thereafter, put the passing of the bill for second reading to a voice vote and senators voted unanimously for its passage.(NAN)

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Good Tax Revenues ‘ll Enhance  Compliance – FIRS

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

When governments deploy tax revenues for the common good of the citizens, there is a concomitant increase in tax compliance by citizens who see the direct benefit of the taxes they pay.

This was the position held by the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami during his opening remarks at the launch of the Public Finance Database by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum at the Wells Carlton Hotel, in Abuja, on Tuesday, last week.

Mr.

Nami argued that the low compliance tax rate in most developing countries was as a result of the failure of the social contract between the taxpayers and the government, noting that those in political leadership in the country had a duty to promote a tax-paying culture by relating projects and infrastructural developments executed by them to taxes paid by taxpayers.

“Taxpayers need to see what has been done with their money to be encouraged to continue to pay their obligations under the Social Contract they have with the government.

“I am delighted that one of the sessions focuses on the tax-for-service programmes as they impact tax revenues. This issue is dear to us as tax administrators as there is a nexus between the effective utilization of tax revenue and tax compliance,” he stated.

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“The low level of tax compliance in developing countries can be attributed to the failure of the social contract between the taxpayers and the government. It is expected that if the citizens are committed to paying taxes, the government should be committed to using the taxes for the common good of all citizens.”

The FIRS boss further argued that projects funded by taxpayers’ moneys should be reported as such and not personalized so that citizens would begin to relate these projects as the proceeds of their taxes.

“Those in political leadership should promote the tax-paying culture by relating projects and infrastructural developments executed by them to tax.

“The government at all levels are doing a lot with taxpayers’ money but citizens do not easily appreciate these facts because of the way and manner the projects are reported.

“There is the need to de-emphasize and de-personalize projects so that the citizens will begin to relate all the ongoing laudable projects in the states to tax revenue. This singular act to a great extent will increase the tax morale and enhance compliance.”

Mr. Muhammad Nami, an advocate for a harmonized tax system as a cure for tax revenue leakages used the platform to call for the country to make a bold paradigm shift  by harmonizing the country’s tax system to optimize tax revenue collection.

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“Recently, there has been a clamour for a holistic review of our tax system. Its proponents, including myself argue that if Nigeria must achieve its tax revenue potentials as the fulcrum of economic development, a harmonisation of our tax system must be undertaken.

“Tax harmonisation for enhanced revenue generation, which was the theme of the 2nd National Tax Dialogue was carefully chosen to reiterate the need for us as a nation to rethink the current tax system being operated.

“There was a consensus at the dialogue that Nigeria needs a transition to a unified tax administration as practised globally by most of the efficient and effective tax jurisdictions that have achieved optimum tax revenue collection. 

“Certainly, there is no gainsaying that if Nigeria must be less dependent on external borrowing and buffer from the volatility and dwindling oil revenue, there should be a paradigm shift. Beyond politics and sentiment, the country should be willing to make those bold and hard but beneficial tax reforms and there is no better time than now, if we must avert the looming debt crisis. The gains from a harmonised tax system far outweigh the fears expressed in some quarters, if dispassionately analysed.”

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No Plans to Sell Transmission Company of Nigeria – BPE 

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has debunked reports that the Federal government has concluded plans to sell Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

The Bureau made the reffutal in a statement issued by the Head of Public Communications, Mr Chidi Uzoma Ibeh in Abuja on Sunday. 

The statement reads: The attention of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has been drawn to a news publication alleging that “the Federal Government is currently gearing up to put the Transmission Company of Nigeria, up for Sale”.

“The BPE wishes to state that the news is completely false in all its ramifications. The allegation is a mere fabrication by mischief makers aimed at creating room for another needless strike by electricity workers.

“The actions of the Federal Government in the power sector are guided by well-articulated policy documents and extant legislations.

“It would be recalled that the Federal Government had in 2001 approved the Nigerian Electric Power Policy (NEPP) document. The NEPP formed the basis for the enactment of the Nigerian Electricity Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA), 2005.

” It would also be recalled that a RoadMap for the Reform of the power sector was issued in 2010. None of these documents envisaged the privatization of TCN and that was why a Management Contract was put in place to reorganize and optimize the operations of TCN during the 2013 privatization exercise.

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“The Federal Government has not changed its policy nor amended the EPSRA as it relates to TCN.

“The Bureau therefore urges electricity sector workers and indeed the general public to ignore completely this false publication”.

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