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Jonathan says Nigeria is more corrupt under Buhari than his time

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Jonathan says Nigeria is more corrupt under Buhari than his time

President Goodluck Jonathan, in the night of Tuesday, March 27, reacted to the allegation by Ibrahim Magu, the chairman of Nigeria’s anti-graft body, that N1.3 trillion was looted under the immediate past administration.

Jonathan described the allegation as diversionary and coming days after the United States released a report that massive corruption remains under the present government.

The former president lamented why Ibrahim Magu would decided to drag his name “into the mix and blame him for this latest in a series of negative verdicts on the current administration’s anti-graft war.”

In his reaction to the allegation, Jonathan, through one of his spokespersons, Remo Omokri, said in a statement: “This is strange because Magu was expected to have used the forum to address the issues of impunity raised in the U.S. State Department report which directly indicted leaders of the anti-corruption crusade by emphatically noting, among other things, that ‘there is a climate of impunity in the President Muhammadu Buhari government that allows officials to engage in corrupt practices with a sense of exemption from punishment’.

“The claim of a stolen N1.3 trillion public fund which Magu reiterated on Monday is not new, for the discerning members of the public, the claim by Magu is rehash of false allegations that started its ill-fated journey in 2016.”

The former president also said that in January 2016, the minister of information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, claimed at a world press conference in Abuja, to mark the beginning of the administration’s war against corruption, that 55 well-placed Nigerians stole a whopping N1.34 trillion between 2006 and 2013, a period covering the presidencies of Obasanjo, Yar’Adua and Jonathan.

“Nine months later, specifically in October 2016, the chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Professor Itse Sagay, repeated the allegation with only a slight alteration, by alleging that about N1.4 trillion was stolen by top government officials and businessmen under the last three administrations.

“It will be recalled that in July 2015, Adams Oshiomhole, the current chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), had alleged that a former government minister in Nigeria stole $6bn (about N2.1 trillion). Oshiomhole said ‘US officials informed President Muhammadu Buhari of the alleged theft during his visit to Washington the previous month’.

“However, the U.S. State Department denied the story, asking Oshiomhole to name the official and not drag United States into Nigeria domestic politics.

“The truth is that Ibrahim Magu lied and this is not the first, or second time he has lied to the public,” the former president said.

Speaking further, Jonathan said: “It would be recalled that Mr Magu has boasted on many occasions that the EFCC under him had recovered about N739 billion within two years, adding that over N500 billion was recovered in 2017 alone.

“However, Kemi Adeosun, the then minister of finance in the same government at that time, decided to put a lie to M. Magu’s claims, by revealing in March 2018, that contrary to all the figures provided over time by the EFCC’s acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu, only N91 billion of such claims could be accounted for by the government.

“So, instead of relying on wild and unsubstantiated allegations, I would advise Mr. Magu to focus on some facts, like the following.”

He noted that the Transparency International has claimed that Nigeria is more corrupt now than during his own time.

“Moreover, it is a fact that renowned entertainer, Mr Charles Oputa, AKA Charly Boy, recently revealed that the spokesman for the Muhammadu Buhari re-election campaign, Mr Festus Keyamo, paid him a nine-figure sum (at least one hundred million Naira), to attack the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the February 2019 Presidential elections.

“The question Mr Magu should answer is where did Festus Keyamo get so much money that he carelessly throws around?

“Finally, Nigerians saw clear evidence via drone imagery that bullion vans carted cash to the home of the national leader of the All Progressive Congress, Senator Bola Tinubu, 48 hours to the presidential election.

“Mr Tinubu even boasted on live television that the bullion vans carried money and that it is nobody’s business. This is even as the money laundering act of 2011 makes it illegal for any individual to make cash payments exceeding five million naira. And provides that every cash transaction over ₦5,000,000 must be done via a financial institution.

“Magu should realize that his credibility and that of the agency he leads should derive from the attention he gives to objectivity, professionalism and hard evidence.

“Enough! Nigerians want to hear something new, good news, tales of hope, and not this rehash of poorly articulated fables like corruption fighting back and non-existing folklores of people who stole in an unknown year,” the former president said.

Legit.ng earlier reported that Ibrahim Magu said that over N1.3 trillion was stolen by 32 entities between 2011 and 2015.

Magu disclosed this at an event held in Lagos, on Monday, March 25, according to a statement by the commission’s acting head, media and publicity, Tony Orilade.

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Economy

Post COVID-19: FG explores indirect tax, ICT to shore up revenue says Finance minister

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Post COVID-19: FG explores indirect tax, ICT to shore up revenue says Finance minister

The minister of finance, Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed has reiterated the Federal Governments determination to explore all possible avenues including indirect taxation such as ICT driven tax to shore up the country’s revenue.
She spoke when the chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) Abuja and District Society visited on sensitization to mark the tax week.

The minister who spoke through a director in the ministry Fatima Hayatu said because of the experience during the COVID-19 lockdown the tax drive is being redirected to ICT.
“We have all seen from the COVID-19, we were all in Lock down,  but we were using our phones and technology, that is why we are now going to ICT driven tax and we are going to be taxing more of the digital technology.
She said Post COVID-19 indirect taxation is where most of the taxes will be coming from.
“The theme; ‘Tax, Politics and social contract’ is very apt in the present situation, Nigeria needs all the taxes more than before, as a ministry we will give the CITN all the support it needs to carryout it’s basic duties.
Chairman of FCT Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Alhaji Abdullahi Attah said considering the fact that the country is now seriously looking for money and oil is dwindling the next option is taxation.
Speaking through Director Human Resources in FCT IRS Muhammad Jada, he said there is every need to take taxation seriously and ensure that the trust reposed in them is not be betrayed
“It is an important organization and an important week where the trust and the integrity is the key.”

The chairman CITN Abuja district Dr Nwabuzor M. Emeke said they are organising the annual tax week as a week they lay emphasis on tax advocacy and sensitisation.
“This year we have chosen the topic that has to do with tax, politics and Social Contract
What are we trying to say, we are looking at it from two perspectives, and equally encouraging Government to fulfil their own end of the bargain so that when Nigerians see what the Government is doing with the proceeds from tax they would be encouraged to pay taxes.
He said in so doing they CITN Abuja district is organizing a seminar Tuesday at Merit House, where about four eminent professors will speak on issues about taxation. “The issue of tax cannot be over emphasised because we all know what Nigeria is going through in terms of the dwindling oil revenues, so the Government is deploying more efforts on tax issues and that is on your shoulder as FIRS and we as CITN that regulate tax in Nigeria is partnering with you to ensure that you achieve your target that is given to you by the Federal Government.

The chairman of FIRS Muhammed Nami said they attach importance to the Relationship between FIRS and CITN as many directors in FIRS are also members of CITN
Represented by the coordinating director digital support group of the Federal inland Revenue Service Dr. Achek Maidugu he said,
“The CITN is part and parcel of the FIRS, most of us are members with the Abuja and district society.
“FIRS holds CITN in high esteem as critical stakeholder we appreciated and we always identify with CITN.”
He said they have been supporting CITN adding that they will continue the partnership.

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Economy

AEC urges African Govts. to invest in home-made products as post COVID-19 strategy

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AEC urges African Govts. to invest in home-made products as post COVID-19 strategy

By Mustapha Sumaila

The African Economic Congress (AEC) has urged African Governments to invest in home-made products as a means of fast-tracking development as post COVID-19 strategy to recover economy.

The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AEC, Mrs Nancy Nnaji said this in a statement in Abuja on Monday.

Nnaji said this suggestion was part of recommendations of various speakers
at the just concluded 2nd Edition of the annual conference held recently by AEC.

The meeting had the theme: “Post COVID-19: Africa in the New Economic Order”.

She said the conference had also recommended that Africans should prioritise research as a tool for sustainable development on the continent.

According to her, Africa is advised to move for self-reliance in the coming years, by harnessing and leveraging its abundant resources both human and materials to drive economic transformation.

She said the meeting noted that agricultural sector was key to Africa’s economic transformation and by developing it, abundant resources could be provided to finance the 2063 African union agenda to curb unemployment, food shortage, malnutrition and extreme poverty.

The founder stated that “Africans are also enjoined to be educated on the technical know-how to improve agriculture on the continent.

“Governments must increase the yearly allocated budget for agriculture and promote private sector engagement to avoid inadequate funding.

“To increase the level of value addition of food exports, there must be an investment in innovation and technology around local processing and infrastructure building.

“There is need for digital literacy skills, critical thinking skills, technical skills, soft skills, entrepreneurial skills, and certification programmes should be incorporated into the learning curriculum in all levels of education to produce self-reliant and employable graduates” she added.

Nnaji also added that the conference advised on the need to improve broadband connectivity to support interactive online learning and teaching. (NAN)

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Hope for border reopening dims as agric minister reiterates indefinite closure

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Hope for border reopening dims as agric reiterates indefinite closure

The Minister of Agriculture, Mohammed Sabo Nanono, has said that the Federal Government was not ready to reopen the borders, so as to boost the country’s agricultural sector.
He stated this, at the flag-off ceremony of the distribution of agricultural inputs to farmers affected by the recent flood in Kebbi State on Saturday.
He said Nigeria borders will remain locked and the key thrown into the lagoon.

He said: “Nigerian farmers have been performing well by producing such food items as rice, millet, guinea corn, and Shea butter, among others. We are not ready to reopen the borders, which is why the Federal Government is ready to support the dry season farming to regain what farmers lost to the flood disaster.”
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Adamu Aliero, supported the continued closure of borders, to encourage the growth of local rice farming.
He commended federal and state governments for supporting flood victims in the state.
The Kebbi State Governor, Senator Atiku Bagudu Abubakar, represented by the Deputy Governor, Col Ismail Yombe Dabai (rtd.), thanked the Federal Government for the kind gesture. He assured me of equal distribution of the items.
He appealed to the Federal Government to increase the quantity of the items, to enable them to go round the affected people.
The items shared included rice, millet, guinea corn, and beans, among others.

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