The Chairman, Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Babatunde Fowler, has described the Kwara Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS), as a model revenue agency in the North Central region.
Fowler gave this pass mark on Thursday in Ilorin at the official flag-off of the National Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) and Consolidated National Taxpayers’ Database.
He said the choice of Ilorin for the flag-off of the North Central Region was in recognition of the path-finding role the state had played in ensuring sustainable internally generated revenue profile for the state and the region.
“Over the years, Kwara Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS) has designed and executed far reaching IGR reforms that have translated to a model revenue agency in the region.
“Following the Law granting it autonomy in June 2015, it has developed in leaps and bounds constantly seeking to achieve excellence in tax administration.
“It has achieved a 221 per cent increase in its collection from N7.1 billion in 2015 at the time of attaining its autonomous status to N23 billion in 2018.
“Kwara IRS has come to a benchmark for revenue authorities, not just within the North Central, but nationwide as well.
“It is also noteworthy that KWIRS is the only state revenue agency in the country to have been ISO certified, with the ISO 9001 for Quality Management System and ISO/IEC 22301 for Business Continuity Management System,” Fowler added.
He said while Kwara IRS was setting standards, sister revenue authorities within the zone were left behind, as statistics indicated that Niger with 60.05 per cent and Nasarawa State with 22.56 per cent were among the top 15 states within an annual growth rate above 20 per cent in 2018.
The state deputy governor, Mr Kayode Alabi, who represented the governor, AbduRahman AbdulRazaq at the event later unveiled the TIN certificate. (NAN)
Edited by Nick Nicholas/Yemi Idris-Aduloju
Harmattan: Jos warm clothes dealers hike prices
Dealers of second hand warm clothing in Jos have increased prices of their wares, taking advantage of the high demand for the goods occasioned by the onset of the harmattan cold.
A correspondent of the Nigeria News Agency gathered from markets in the city on Monday that the prices of most second hand clothings have doubled.
NAN reports that temperature in the city has fallen to as low as 11 to 12 degrees Celsius in the night, and rises to between 19 and 20 degrees Celsius in the morning.
It was gathered that the prices of warm clothing’s such as cardigans, head warmers, jackets, hand gloves and pantyhose have been hiked.
Some of the traders who spoke to NAN attributed the hike to the closure of the nation’s land borders, while others blamed it on the coming of the harmattan cold.
Mallam Iliya Maichibi, a dealer in head warmers at the Terminus market, Jos, said that the prices of the items had risen due to demand for them as a result of the harmattan.
Mr Amos Chigozie, another dealer in second hand winter jackets, hand gloves and head warmers at Dilimi junction, also attributed the hike in price to high demand.
According to Chigozie, he started witnessing high patronage from customers from the last week of November.
He said “with the increased harmattan cold, since the last week of November, the patronage has doubled.
‘`I enjoy high patronage with the onset of the harmattan, business has been very good, in fact I opened two bales of clothing daily’’.
Mr Hassan Shuaibu, who sells second hand ladies panty hose, Turtlenecks, trousers and blankets, said the business was booming.
Shuaibu said that the demand for items was very high and the main dealers of the bales had hiked the prices since the business of warm clothing was seasonal.
Also, Mr Abdullahi Usman, a trader in second hand warm clothes at the Terminus market, attributed the hike to the closure of the nation’s land borders.
Usman said that a bale of clothes which was sold for N150, 000 before the closure of the borders, now cost N200, 000.
He denied allegations by customers that the prices were doubled due to the onset of the harmattan.
He further said that the normal wears had their prices hiked as the prices of the bale in general had gone up.
Similarly, Malam Saidu Danbaba, a dealer in leggings and pantyhose, said that a pair of pantyhose that cost N300 depending on its grade, now cost N500.
Danbaba attributed the hike to the closure of the borders which made it difficult to have access to the bales.
Mr Ebube Destiny, a buyer of the second hand warm clothing, decried the hike in the prices, describing it as unfair.
Similarly, Mrs Peace Bitrus, another customer, who said she was in the market to purchase warm clothes for her kids, condemned the sellers for taking advantage of the high demand to hike the prices.
Edited by: Chinyere Bassey and Abdullahi Yusuf
As petrol prices rise, more Egyptians convert to duel-fuel vehicles
The number of Egyptians switching to duel-fuel vehicles is accelerating as the government pushes motorists to use cheaper, cleaner and plentiful natural gas.
About 300,000 vehicles, mostly taxis and minibuses, have been converted to duel-fuel systems since the 1990s — a small fraction of the 11 million vehicles licensed in the country.
But authorities are encouraging more drivers to switch by subsidising vehicle conversions, keeping Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) prices low, and building CNG fuelling stations and conversion plants.
Nearly 32,000 vehicles were converted during the financial year from July 2018 to June 2019, two petroleum ministry officials said.
The target for this financial year is 50,000 vehicles. That compares with just 6,000 conversions in 2015/16.
Officials say the number of private cars converting is rising.
They hope this will soften the blow of petrol price hikes after recent subsidy removals, as well as reducing pollution and cutting the import bill for liquid fuels.
Egyptians have seen steep increases to fuel prices since 2014, with most energy prices brought up to international levels under a three-year, IMF-backed reform plan completed this year.
But gas has remained cheap compared with liquid fuels.
One cubic meter of CNG costs 3.5 Egyptian pounds, roughly the equivalent of one liter of diesel at 6.75 pounds or one liter of 80-octane petrol at 6.5 pounds.
The ministry of petroleum has maintained an appropriate price so that natural gas always stays at 50 per cent of the 80-octane petrol (price), which encouraged drivers to turn to conversion,” said Abdelfattah Moustafa Farahat, head of Egyptian International Gas Technology GASTEC.
Private cars now make up 30% of conversions, Farahat said.
Officials say a boom in natural gas production and exploration since the discovery of the giant offshore Zohr gas field in 2015 spurred them to act. Egypt became self-sufficient in natural gas in late 2018.
The discovery of Zohr field and achieving self-sufficiency in natural gas have encouraged the state to think: why don’t we use this gas as a domestic fuel and work to expand its use,” said Ayman Shalaby, assistant vice chairman at Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS).
GASTEC is one of two state-run companies, along with Natural Gas Vehicles Company (Car Gas), that dominate the sector. Private and foreign companies have also entered the market the past few years.
GASTEC plans to set up 54 new duel-fuel stations with CNG over the next three years, in partnership with Italy’s Eni, as well as building more fuelling stations for public buses, Farahat said. Currently, Egypt has 187 CNG fuelling stations and 72 conversion centers.
The government also has a plan for minibuses, a common form of cheap transport across Egypt.
Under the scheme, 142,000 minibuses would be converted and another 88,000 old diesel minibuses replaced with biofuel equivalents over the next three years, while more than 350 fuelling stations would be built.
Motorists gave the duel-fuel system mixed reviews. Some praised cost savings on fuel, but complained of reduced power or luggage space.
Officials say conversions are preceded by technical checks and the cylinder size and shape can be adapted to the vehicle.
The government is subsidizing and providing low-interest installment plans for conversion systems, which cost 5,000-7,500 pounds (310-465 dollars), as well as encouraging assembly plants and importers to provide vehicles with built-in systems.
Edited by: Abdullahi Mohammed/Ali Baba-Inuwa
Saudi Aramco IPO proceeds rise to $29.4bn after option exercised
The proceeds from Saudi Aramco’s record initial public offering have risen to 29.4 billion dollars after the oil company exercised an option to sell 15 per cent more stock, an executive at one of the banks leading the deal told Al Arabiya news channel on Monday.
Wassim Al Khatib, head of investment banking at the investment arm of Saudi Arabia’s biggest bank, National Commercial Bank 1180.SE, said the state-controlled oil giant had exercised the so-called over-allotment option.
Aramco’s main IPO raised 25.6 billion dollars on Thursday.
The final number of shares sold is 3.450 billion shares, and the final value of the deal is 29.4 billion dollars,” Khatib said.
Aramco is listing its shares on Wednesday on the Saudi exchange after completing the largest IPO on record.
Edited by: Abdullahi Mohammed/Ali Baba-Inuwa
EFCC secures conviction of 111 fraudsters in Southeast in 11 months
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has obtained the conviction of 111 fraudsters in the South East between January and November, 2019.
The South East Zonal Head of the EFCC, Mr Usman Imam said this on Monday in Enugu during the 2019 International Anti-corruption Day.
Imam said that the commission had also secured the forfeiture of over N213 million and 10,609 US Dollars within the time under review and had over 230 pending cases in various courts across the zone.
We are not resting on our oars as the EFCC is not just about prosecution and conviction. We have been quite robust in our sensitisation and enlightenment mandates,” he said.
The zonal head said that the Federal Government’s whistleblower’s policy must be embraced in the zone.
This will not just help in recovery of public funds but also a means of earning legitimate income,” he said.
He said that the zone had been rubbished by high level cybercrime perpetrated by young vibrant Nigerians.
Imam said that corruption had dealt the country a big blow such that a recent report on Nigeria by the World Bank in October 2019, painted a gloomy picture of the situation.
The depth and gravity of corruption in our country can be seen in the fact that between January and November 2019, the EFCC has secured over 1, 000 convictions across the country.
The commission has recovered hundreds of billions of naira in various categories of assets,” he said.
He said that the international anti-corruption day had its history in 2013 when the United Nations signed a treaty known as United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNAC).
Imam said that the treaty was ratified by 140 countries including Nigeria.
The treaty is in recognition of the far-reaching impact of corruption and economic crime that undermine the value of democracy, sustainable development and rule of law.
The culture of impunity and the seeming powerlessness of everyone over the years is the reason why people are being emboldened to continue in their corrupt ways,” he said.
Imam said that the EFCC was determined to fight corruption to a standstill in the country.
Ugwuanyi also commended the zonal office of the EFCC for the excellent work it was doing.
Edited by: Edwin Nwachukwu/Maureen Atuonwu
Electricity vandals throw nine Anambra communities into darkness
Mr Emeka Ezeh, Head of EEDC Communications Department, made this known in a statement made available to newsmen in Awka.
Ezeh said the vandalism on its installation was carried out early Sunday.
He said that valuable equipment were carted away from the line which transmits to Enugwu-Ukwu, Abagana, Ukpo and Nimo 11KV feeders.
He said the communities affected were, Enugwu-Ukwu, Abagana, Ukpo, Nimo, Nawfia, Umuokpu, Abba, Ifitedunu and parts of Amawbia, left without electricity supply.
According to him, EEDC regrets to inform her esteemed customers under Enugwu-Ukwu 33KV line that the current loss of supply being experienced is as a result of the vandalism of the 33KV network feeding them.
Materials carted away include five spans of aluminum conductors, all fiber cross-arms and 33KV pot insulators and also a broken high tension pole.
Consequently, our customers in the entire Enugwu-Ukwu, Abagana, Ukpo, Nimo, Nawfia, Umuokpu, Abba, Ifitedunu and parts of Amawbia are without electricity supply,” he said.
Ezeh said that efforts were on to fix the problem and restore power supply.
He urged customers of EEDC to see protection of its installations as a shared responsibility.
Plans are on to address this challenge and we assure our customers that supply will be restored as soon as repairs and replacement are completed.
“EEDC remains committed to providing her esteemed customers with improved service delivery, while soliciting for their continued support in ensuring that such an incident does not occur in the network,” he said.
Edited by: Adeleye Ajayi
Expert urges FG to sensitise Nigerians on $29.96bn foreign loan
Expert urges FG to sensitise Nigerians on $29.96bn foreign loan
Dr Uju Ogubunka, an economic expert has urged the Federal Government to educate Nigerians on the importance of the proposed 29.96 billion dollars foreign loan towards boosting the economy.
He suggested that government should sensitise Nigerians through various platforms, in order to reduce anxieties about the loan.
“Government should begin to reassure Nigerians more through proper clarification about the loan and its conditions, informing us will reduce the fears, build confidence and consensus,” he said.
He said that getting loan to put in place basic infrastructure was one of the best ways of stimulating economic growth.
“Requesting for loan now, is almost inevitable, because of the current price of oil at the international market.
“We are all aware that government’s revenue is inadequate to meet competing demands for development,” he said.
He said that the people’s mistrust for government accessing loans was expected because of previous experiences from past leaders.
The President’s request was sent through memos to Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.
The president explained that the loan was to finance key projects in different sectors of the economy.
Edited & Vetted By: Josephine Obute/Ali Baba-Inuwa
Expo 2020 in Dubai: What Benefits to Africa?
Mohammed Dansanta Rimi, Nigeria Ambassador to the United Arab
Emirates (UAE) delivering a letter to Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum,
Chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee in Dubai to confirm Nigeria’s participation.
Expo 2020 in Dubai: What Benefits to Africa?
, Nigeria News Agency
As countries plan to showcase their potential at the Dubai Expo 2020, the show promises to be an invaluable platform for all African nations to strengthen not only their relationship with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) but with the rest of the world.
The Expo, the first to be held in the Middle East, will hold within the Dubai South District on a site that is 4.38 square kilometres.
It is close to Al Maktoum International Airport and easily reached from Dubai International Airport, Abu Dhabi International Airport and Dubai, Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminals.
Approximately 2 square kilometres will form the Expo gate area, while the remaining 2.4 square kilometres will feature supporting amenities, including the Expo 2020 Village for participants and staff accommodation, warehousing, logistics, transport nodes, hotels, retail and a public park.
The Expo 2020 Dubai coincides with the UAE’s 50th anniversary in 2021, marking an important milestone for the UAE. Over the past 50 years, the UAE has impressed the world with its rapid growth and amazing achievements.
The Dubai Expo 2020 wants to motivate people to carry that innovative spirit forward for another 50 years.
With 25 million visits expected, Expo 2020 will create millions of opportunities for positive change, as nations come together to
solve some of the biggest challenges facing us all.
The people attending will come from all over the world, with 70 per cent expected to be international visitors, the highest proportion in World Expo history. 30,000 UAE resident volunteers from a range of nationalities and backgrounds will ensure visitors have the time of their lives – returning again and again.
By participating, African businesses have a chance to join a community of Expo’s buyer and supplier network. Africa’s non-oil trade with Dubai has been growing steadily over the last decade, accounting for 10.5 per cent of the emirate’s total non-oil foreign trade in 2018.
According to UAE Federal Customs Authority data, for the first half of 2018, non-oil foreign trade volume with the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region amounted for AED 138.6 billion; trade with East and Southern Africa totalled AED 28.9 billion; and trade with West and Central Africa AED 27.8 billion.
The organisers of the World’s Greatest Show, said that majority of countries in Africa had publicly announced their participation, adding that each participating country, regardless of size, population, wealth or perceived influence, will have its own pavilion at the Expo.
Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Lesotho, Liberia, Senegal,
Sierra Leone, Somalia and Togo are among Africa countries that have already confirmed their participation in the Expo.
Nigeria has the highest population in Africa and is a traditional trade partner for UAE with non-oil trade between the two countries
amounting to 1.3 billion dollars in 2016.
Mr Mohammed Dansanta Rimi, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the UAE had since delivered a letter to Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee, confirming Nigeria’s participation in the Expo.
The Ambassador said: “We want to show the world how we are working to improve the lives of our youth and people, while opening up our economy and encouraging foreign investment – and the Expo will be the ideal platform for us to do so.’’
Al-Maktoum, confirming Nigeria’s participation in the Expo said: “People and innovation are at the heart of World Expos, which is why we are delighted to welcome Nigeria’s participation.
“Expo 2020 will be the first World Expo to be held in the developing world, and will be for the developing world; so, we look forward to working with Nigeria and other confirmed African countries on our journey to 2020.’’
Similarly, Mr Reem Ibrahim Al Hashimi, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of the Expo added: “As director-general of Expo 2020, I have no doubt to say that the Expo will offer an opportunity to take our relationships (with Africa) to new heights.
“Our Expo visitors are expected to be primarily international coming from all over the world – including Africa.
“Almost all African nations have confirmed their participation and we are working closely with them to curate and programme exhibitions that are meaningful to contribute at all levels.’’
But, according to the organisers, no fewer than 192 countries have confirmed participation, as well as companies, non-governmental
organisations, businesses and educational institutions.
The organisers, who spoke recently to some selected African journalists in Dubai, said that the six months celebration of human
brilliance and achievement will inspire everyone to create a better future for all.
According to them, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), African countries and everything they have to offer will be accessible to the
whole world in new and unexpected ways.
“From discovering what the future holds for the world’s youngest country, South Sudan, and tasting Ethiopia’s next big super-grain, to investing in Kenya’s croton nuts, energy industry, learning about Nigeria’s Economic Recovery Growth Plan 2017-2020, and preserving the continent’s intangible cultural heritage, there will be no barriers to connecting minds at Expo 2020 Dubai.
The Expo 2020, a once-in-lifetime experience, they added will be a time to create and renew connections and deepen through 2020 and beyond, a time to be awed by the spectacular events programme, and a time to do business.
“The show which will open to the world between October 20, 2020 and April 10, 2021, will also move away from traditional geographical clusters and band together countries facing similar challenges and will focus on `Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability’, which is the sub-theme of the Expo.
“This involve ensuring jobs, education and healthcare for all; easy and equitable access to transport and ideas; and balancing development with preserving the environment for future generations.
The sub-themes also form part of commitment to advancing the 2020 Global Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),’’ they said.
“The African Union (AU) has been identified as a body that will play a critical role in promoting Africa’s growth and development at the forthcoming Expo, with the AU already embodying Expo 2020’s theme: ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the future’, will showcase to the world the power of collaboration in building a more prosperous and integrated Africa.
“Already, with a collective effort of the 55 AU member states to implement Agenda 2063 – a blueprint for delivering Africa’s goal for
inclusive and sustainable development, also involves addressing issues in agriculture, transport, science and technology, health,
information and communication technology, as well as those relating to legal and financial matters.’’
It said that among the 25 projects selected in Expo 2020’s Global Best Practice Programme, 15 have a direct impact on some of the biggest challenges facing Africa, noting that Africa and the UAE had enjoyed a long friendship, steeped in a shared culture and trade ties that date back centuries, and which still define their mutually respectful relationship.
Analysts believe that Africa is the future of global economic growth. And while other continents see slow to negative growth in their economies, Africa countries’ economies are growing at double digit level.
So, African participation in Expo 2020 is seen as an important element for the success of the mega event.
ECOWAS Presidents to meet on single currency regime Dec. 21
ECOWAS Presidents to meet on single currency regime Dec. 21
Presidents of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are to meet on December 21 in Abuja to consider recommendations on the proposed single currency regime for the sub-regiom
Nigeria Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed disclosed this on Saturday in Abuja at the end of the meeting of Ministerial Committee of Ministers of Finances and Governors of Cenral Banks of ECOWAS on single currency
would be submitted to presidents of member states for consideration.
“We have ended the meeting, the report is ready for submission to our presidents who will be meeting in Abuja here on December 21.
“In their meeting, the presidents will consider recommendations of this meeting and the decision they will be taken will be reported to our countries,” she said.
According to her, with only one country meeting the criteria, it would be a tall order to beat the 2020 takeoff deadline for the single currency regime.
Ahmed, however reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to the establishment of ECOWAS Central Bank.
They had formally agreed to name the common currency “Eco”.
Edited & Vetted By: Ese E. Ekama
Experts outline ways to fund Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit through capital market
Experts outline ways to fund Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit through capital market
An investment banker and Head, Debt Capital Markets, FBNQuest Merchant Bank Limited, Mr Oluseun Olatidoye, has stressed the need for sound macroeconomic and policy frameworks to enable the capital market attract investors to fund infrastructure projects in the country.
annual conference of the Capital Market Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CAMCAN) on Saturday in Lagos.
He said the capital market was a very good platform for raising funds for infrastructure development.
“We have raised N11.4 billion for the development of schools facilities in Osun State, and funded the development of affordable housing on the Mixta Real Estate Plc Bond Issues.
“We have also developed a number of roads, bridges, health facilities using the opportunity presented by the capital markets,” he said.
However, considering the huge financial outlay needed to bridge the the country’s infrastructure gap, Olatidoye said sound macroeconomic and policy frameworks must be provided by the federal government.
“As much as the government has its role, political interference must be limited. This insures investors against any form of political risk, and most importantly corruption which has the potential of crippling the entire endeavour,” said Olatidoye.
Olatidoye, who noted that foreign capital was a great deal in the domestic debt capital market, said project bonds, Sukuks, and other infrastructure-based fixed income products may be unappealing to foreign interest for a couple of reasons.
“Top of such concerns include: foreign exchange policies, liquidity, and tenor (money market has been the major destination for foreign portfolio investors).
“However, asides luring investors with reasonable yields, mitigating structures need to be in place to address risk factors, and this is largely reliant on a significant degree of macroeconomic policy stability and direction to capture offshore investors in long term domestic projects,” he said.
He noted that foreign exchange volatility, if not addressed could deter the interest of foreign investors.
“Depending on the structure of the bond, projects could be of a nature that expose financers to devaluation risks, which will whittle down the dollar value of local currency cash flow from such projects.
“Ultimately, if infrastructure funds are the preferred options for issuers, the ingenuity of financial advisers would be put to test in coming up with structures that protect investors from currency fears (assuming the status quo remains) and also meeting the rating criteria,” he said.
Oladitoye noted that regulators had the responsibility to educate the investing public and other capital market participants.
“This forms the starting point of extracting the most benefit from an efficient capital market.
“As an incentive, the overall cost related to pre-issuance, issuance and post-issuance activities should be revised downwards. Specifically, a favourable tax regime should be instituted for infrastructural investments,” he said.
Earlier, in her keynote address, Ms Mary Uduk, the acting Director-General, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said the theme of the workshop was apt.
“Nigeria has a huge gap in infrastructure base measured through levels of physical capital of roads, public education, electricity production, health infrastructure, and access to treated water,” she said.
Uduk said the Nigerian government, like other developing countries, continued to face significant challenges in implementing programmes to build basic infrastructure, as the traditional source of infrastructure funding was through public expenditure and development finance aids.
According to her, these sources of infrastructure financing have been found to be inadequate as evidenced by the country’s infrastructure gap.
“A report by the African Development Bank on Nigeria’s Infrastructure Plan in 2013 estimated that Nigeria would need to invest about $350 billion in its infrastructure sector in 10 years to be at par with its peers.
“The government, in recognition of this, is doing its best to close the infrastructure gap as outlined in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) for 2017-2020,” she said.
She said the establishment of an active infrastructure fund as proposed by capital stakeholders would be beneficial in closing the infrastructure gap in the country.
According to her, there are various sources of funds available in the market such as the pension funds, real estate investment trust and collective investment scheme, which can be harnessed for infrastructure development.
Uduk represented by Mr Sufian Abdulkarim, Head of Department, External Relations, SEC, said the government could not be the sole provider of infrastructure, noting that active private sector participation was also needed.
The SEC boss said the capital market provided an enabling environment for private investment in infrastructure project, adding that SEC was doing everything within its powers to promote this through the implementation of the Capital Market master plan 2015 to 2025.
She urged government to leverage on alternative sources of infrastructure financing in the capital market in a bid to diversify the economy and develop infrastructure in NIgeria.
Edited & Vetted By: Salif Atojoko
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- Harmattan: Jos warm clothes dealers hike prices
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