The Director General, Nasarawa Geographic Information Service ( NAGIS), Mr Sonny Agassi has disclosed that the state government in collaboration, with the World Bank, will start enumeration exercise on property registration in some selected Local Government Areas of the state.
Agassi reiterated the state government’s commitment to the development of infrastructure to improve on the health and standard of living of the people of the state, saying that this was what informed on the collaboration between the government and the World Bank.“The idea is in line with the commitment of the state governor, Engr. Abdulllahi A Sule, to improve infrastructure, provide additional hospitals, reduce the housing deficit and increase water supply,” he said . ( NAN)
No Tax Waivers for Local, Foreign Investors-FIRS
By Joseph Chibueze, Abuja
The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), has said it had no policy that grants tax waivers to any local or foreign investors in the country as its enabling Act did not empower it to grant such tax breaks.
Executive Chairman, Mohammed Nami disclosed this Abuja on Friday in during his appearance before the House of Representatives’ Public Accounts Committee investigating alleged tax waivers granted to three foreign firms operating in the country.
The firms are Indorama Petrochemical, Indorama Fertilizer and Petrochemical Ltd and OIS Indorama Eleme Port-Harcourt.
“The FIRS does not have the power or responsibility of facilitating or implementing incentives to local investors or investors coming through the Foreign Direct Investment platform, which is the sole prerogative of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC)”, a statement from FIRS by Director of Communications and Liaison, Dr Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad quoted Nami to have told the panel.
Nami pointed out that “the investigation of the three foreign firms, Indorama Petrochemical, Indorama Fertilizer and Petrochemical Ltd and OIS Indorama Eleme Port-Harcourt, started way back in 2015. The committee in charge of the investigation has consistently been furnished with all required documents by the FIRS”.
He further stated that the companies under consideration “have been variously granted pioneer status between December 15th, 1997 to 2016 for the Indorama Petrochemical Ltd and between 2017 – 2020 for the Indorama Fertilizer and Chemicals Ltd respectively”. According to him “upon expiration of the pioneer period and conclusion of post pioneer Audit, the Indorama Petrochemical Ltd company’s tax file was returned to the Large Tax Office (LTO) Port Harcourt.
Thus far, the company has filed its annual returns up to 31st December 2019 with relevant Self-Assessment and paid its attendant liabilities”.
He, therefore, pleaded with the Public Accounts Committee “to always avail itself of the opportunity to work closely with the custodians of FIRS records, such as the Coordinating Directors, Directors and Tax Controllers as do other House Committees like the Committee on Finance, to enhance its investigation at any time.”
Recall that the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts had written a letter of invitation dated 27th May 2021 to the Executive Chairman of the FIRS to appear at its public hearing slated for 9 June 2021 on alleged revenue leakages involving the three foreign firms. However, the FIRS Executive Chairman could not honour the Committee’s summons on that date due to other pressing engagements which included Board meetings.
Appearing in person on the rescheduled date, Nami noted with satisfaction the cordial relationship between the FIRS and the legislators since he assumed office in December 2019.
He seized the opportunity to reiterate that “the mandate of the FIRS is to assess, collect and account for tax revenue.” This mandate, he stressed, “is clear and unambiguous.”
Nami used the opportunity to call for a continuous cordial working relationship between the National Assembly and the FIRS “especially in this critical time when tax revenue has become crucial to the operations of the three tiers of government.” He assured that the FIRS under his watch “is very keen on collaborating with the Honourable Members of the Committee and other critical stakeholders in the National Assembly on the Automatic Exchange of Information on tax evasion, tax avoidance and other related issues.”
Nami concluded his remarks by emphasising that he remained focused on the task of revenue collection which the Federal Government had assigned him to undertake. This task, he noted, “has its challenges, more so with the ravaging impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on businesses and the overall economy. The Management of FIRS is working assiduously to achieve the revenue target set for it by the Federal Government and is not relenting in that objective”.
Nexim Bank Launches $50m Export Programme for Women, Youths
By Joseph Chibueze, Abuja and Haruna Aliyu Usman, Birnin -Kebbi
The Nigeria Export Import (NEXIM) Bank has lauched a $50 million
export lending programme for women and youths in Kebbi State.
Managing Director of the bank, Alhaji Abba Bello in his speech at the
launch which took place at Birnin Kebbi on Thursday said apart from
providing funds for the beneficiaries, the bank was also going to
provide training for them.
He said Kebbi State is the second place the bank was launching the
programme after Abuja. According to him, the choice of Kebbi was
because of the enthusiasm shown by some group of young enterprenuers
whom he said already had their business plans ready.
He explained that women and youths have been denied opportunities like
this because of lack of capacity to prepare bankable business plan.
The NEXIM Bank boss said the scheme which is a collaboration between
Nexim and Afriexim banks have made available $50 million dollars to
build capacities of potential exporters to make them becomes export
He noted that, they intend to cover the entire country but with more
emphasis on women and youth who already forms almost 85 per cent of
the country’s population.
“When the country is fully covered Nigeria will witness a huge export
boost within the next few years,” he said adding that every citizen
especially youths and women who can come up with reasonable business
plan, Nexim bank is ready to provide the needed financing.
He challenged the youths and women to come forward with bankable
business ideas to access the available funds.
FG to Establish N15trn Infraco Plc for infrastructure development – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of Infraco Plc, a world-class infrastructure development vehicle wholly focused on Nigeria with a capital structure of N15 trillion.
The president revealed this on Saturday in a broadcast to mark this year’s Democracy Day.
He expressed optimism that the company, when fully functional, would address the nation’s infrastructural deficits and subsequently transform the economy.
He also disclosed that his administration had succeeded in accelerating infrastructure development through sensible and transparent borrowing, improved capital inflow, improving and increasing revenue through capturing more tax bases and prudent management of investment proceeds in the Sovereign Wealth Fund.
According to him, the rail system is not left out as the Itakpe-Warri standard gauge rail was completed and commissioned 33 years after construction began.
He stated that the Lagos-Ibadan double track railway line, which he inaugurated on June 10, 2021, had commenced operations.
“We are focused on ensuring that our infrastructure drive is key to economic growth and one that can be felt by every Nigerian. Building critical infrastructure in our ports is also opening up opportunities for the Nigerian economy.
“My approval for four new seaports using a Public-Private-Partnership approach is hinged on growing the Nigerian economy.
“These four sea ports; Lekki Deep Sea Port, Bonny Deep Sea Port, Ibom Deep Sea Port and Warri Deep Sea port, will create massive job opportunities and foreign investment inflows.
“We have worked at deepening our Eastern ports leading to success like having three container ships berth at Calabar port, a first in 11 years.
“Similarly, on October 30, 2019, an LPG tanker operated by NLNG berthed in Port Harcourt, the first time an LPG ship is berthing at any of the Eastern Ports.
“As we invest in these new assets, we have also made strides in ensuring that they are secured and protected.
“In this regard, I am also pleased to note the launch of the NIMASA Deep Blue project – which is an Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure that I recently commissioned.
“This initiative is designed to add to the layer of security we have to safeguard our maritime sector,’’ he added.
The president also listed the achievements of his administration in the agricultural sector to include the Anchor Borrowers Programme which resulted in sharp decline in the nation’s major food import bill from 2.23 billion dollars in 2014 to 0.59 billion dollars by the end of 2018.
According to him, rice import bill alone also dropped from one billion dollars to 18.5 million dollars annually.
He observed that Anchor Borrowers initiative had supported local production of rice, maize, cotton and cassava.
He revealed that government financed 2.5 million small-holder farmers cultivating about 3.2 million hectares of farmland all over the country and created 10 million direct and indirect jobs.
“Several other initiatives, namely AgriBusiness/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme, the Non-oil Export stimulation Facility, the Targeted Credit Facilities operated across the 774 Local Governments.
“In the manufacturing sector the CBN – BOI N200 billion facility financed the establishment and operations of 60 new industrial hubs across the country, creating an estimated 890,000 direct and indirect jobs,’’ he added.
The president noted that the Central Bank of Nigeria’s N50 billion Textile Sector intervention Facility increased capacity utilisation of ginneries from 30 per cent to nearly 90 per cent.
According to him, the Economic Sustainability Plan – the nation rebound plan for the COVID-19 pandemic developed in 2020, is currently being executed.
He said the plan was primarily focused on the non-oil sector, which had recorded phenomenal growth contributing over 90 per cent to the GDP growth in Q1 2021.
“Though marginal we have recorded GDP growth over two quarters; Q2 2020 and Q1 2021. This is evidence of a successful execution of the ESP by the Federal Government.”
Buhari stated that his administration’s vision of pulling 100 million poor Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years had been put into action and could be seen in the National Social Investment Programme; “a first in Africa and one of the largest in the world where over 32.6 million beneficiaries are taking part.
“We now have a National Social register of poor and vulnerable households, identified across 708 local government areas, 8,723 wards and 86,610 communities in the 36 States and the FCT’’.
He further maintained that the administration’s conditional cash transfer programme had benefited over 1.6 million poor and vulnerable households comprising more than eight million individuals, saying “this provides a monthly stipend of N10,000 per household’’.
The president revealed that he recently approved the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy Plan that augments existing plans to further reduce poverty in the country.
He said: “As at the end of 2020, the Development Bank of Nigeria had disbursed N324 billion in loans to more than 136,000 MSMEs, through 40 participating Financial Institutions.
“I am to note that 57 per cent of these beneficiaries are women while 27 per cent are the youth,’’ he said. (NAN)
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