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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

‘Nigeria should exploit its vast natural resources as crude oil will soon fade out’

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‘Nigeria should exploit its vast natural resources as crude oil will soon fade out’

By Janet Samuel

The Senator representing Osun West Senatorial District, Senator Adelere Adeyemi Oriolowolo has tasked Nigeria to exploit its vast untapped natural resources while the crude oil is still flowing as it may soon stop.
According to him illegal mining of gold and other solid minerals by foreign nationals has become a reoccuring decimal.
The Senator who is also the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Privatization stated this in Abuja during an interactive session with newsmen.
He said the foreigners who exploit the resources only give Nigeria meager amount of money and cart away everything.
The Lawmaker opined that it is high time Nigeria live as an organised society rather than continue to operate in unorganised ways of doing things.
He noted that Nigeria has all the resources and yet it is suffering, saying that something is wrong somewhere as most of government interventions are going into wrong hands.
The senator made reference to a Nigerian President who once said Nigerians are pathologically lazy, saying that the laziness of the brain has made them unable to think deeply.
“There are three factors to success in life: knowledge, energy and integrity. Knowledge has to do with something you learn about, technical skill, when you talk of energy, it is ability to do work, invariably, wisdom is part of energy, ability to think deep is part of energy, apart from muscular energy.
He said money is also part of it, but when you put them in layers, wisdom is at the top and money is at the bottom and in between them you find perseverance, and deep thought
“At the top of it is wisdom, so you see what we do here mostly is to chase money and the third one, as I said is integrity, your relationship with God, with your fellow man and relationship with yourself.
Once you have these three, it is just like tripod. You will see that we have to balance them and that is what we are lacking.
“So if we have all the resources and yet we are suffering, something must be happening somewhere- is inability to think.
“Whatever you are doing to your fellow man, you are doing it to yourself. Injustice any where is Injustice everywhere.
“So that is what is really troubling us, we have oil, gold, all the solid minerals and those who know the value will come and hide under our people to do illegal mining.
“In return they give paltry amount of money and cart away everything. It is high time we live in what I call an organise society, we are living in an unorganised society.
“Government’s intervention everywhere is not organised, like in agriculture, there is a lot of fund being given to people to farm but it is not organise, most of the interventions are going to wrong hands.
“I was part of Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), I want to tell you today, hardly can you find the traces of the programme.

He said Government should know the farms and the farmers, hence they know where to take the intervention to. “Today, as a farmer, if I want to buy government subsidy intervention, I will buy the paper from non farmers.
“That is what am saying, we have to live an organised life.
“As I said, America is one of the largest crude oil field, but they are protecting it. They are not selling their own, they are buying cheap ones from us.”
He said stakeholders need to sit down and think about how to make use of the nations natural resources.
According to him, “Most of the people that are doing it in other countries are Nigerians, we have brilliant people in the country, but to sit down, think deeply how do we use them is the issue and yet have climatic condition in our favour. We need to think while the crude oil is flowing, before it stop.
“We are treating the effects, but not the cause and that is what is predominant today in Nigeria. We know that our constitution is defective. But who is afraid of reviewing the constitution?

“That is just the problem, because everybody will be saying our problem is the constitution, but who is afraid of doing it? But as I said the other time, we have a specific assignment, if constitutional review is one of those things that we need to put in place to get what we want and  what needs to be done, we have to put in our report.
“If there is a specific issue like the one we are raising now for solid minerals or resource control, then one way or the other, the issue of review will come up.

“It has to be part of our own recommendation that if we are going to achieve this, that must be done.
That is why the governors in whose states we find predominantly gold reserve,need to be talked to, let make them speake on their experiences, no matter what, the land on which these illegal mining is being done, the constitution vested the ownership of the land in the Governors, so they have something to say”. He stated.

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Nigeria’s economy will fare better if Energy mix is diversified, says Omo-Agege

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Nigeria’s economy will fare better if Energy mix is diversified, says Omo-Agege

The diversification of the country’s energy mix will stimulate national economy, Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has said.

Speaking at the commissioning of the 1.35 megawatts solar hybrid power plant at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, Delta State, Senator Omo-Agege noted that it will also create more robust avenues for national income, fight endemic poverty as well as positively match forward on the path of sustainable economic development.

This was contained in a statement issued by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yomi Odunuga

The project which is under the Federal Government’s Energising Education Programme (EEP), he said, will produce enough electricity to power the entire FUPRE community and cater for the energy needs of its over 6,000 population.

“It was designed to provide sustainable and clean energy to 37 Federal Universities and seven University Teaching Hospitals across the country, under the auspices of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA).

The Delta Central lawmaker explained that the initiative is also projected to create over 100 jobs and significantly boost FUPRE’s local economy.
Senator Omo-Agege who sponsored the bill establishing the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, Delta State, in the Eighth Senate, also applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the bill into law.
“Today’s event is a significant opportunity because of what solar energy solution represents. Firstly, it is part of the present global energy paradigm shift and we cannot afford to be left behind. Secondly, it is a veritable solution to our endemic power problem. 

“Thirdly, it provides hope for creating a cleaner, pollution-free environment. Finally, it is happening in FUPRE – an institution with a mandate that includes the development of clean energies. This itself represents a positive challenge for members of this institution to be leaders in clean energy research and development.

“Another dimension of solar energy solution that provides a good challenge to the FUPRE academic community is its environmental friendliness. FUPRE is situated in an environment where pollution, resulting from the exploitation of fossil energy is endemic. 

“To this extent, it is smart to creatively take on this challenge because, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Solar energy technologies are relatively young and fast evolving. There is room for new strides. This is your time to make real impact. Let the world hear about your exploits in this regard.

“It is equally important to emphasize that globally, nations are moving away from conventional energy sources to renewable ones because of the limitless opportunities. We can be part of this innovation. 

“Let us take a cue from similar initiatives in even some Third World countries that are making significant strides in the field of renewable energy.”

He said, India pioneered biogas technology by way of Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants. Today, Kenya is reportedly close to attaining a 100 percent mark for renewable energy for all its electricity needs.

With Nigeria generating most of its electricity from gas-fired power plants, while output from hydro-power plants makes up about 30 percent of total generation, industry experts have stressed the need for the government to diversify the country’s power generation mix on the back of incessant damage to oil and gas pipelines.

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Emefiele insists, Cryptocuerrency is inimical to the economy

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Emefiele insists Cryptocuerrency is inimical to the economy


***Cryptocurrency Used To Fund EndSARS Protest- ICPC

***It failed critical tests of vulnerability -NFIU

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Governor Godwin Emefiele has maintained his stance that Cryptocurrency is highly inimical to the Nigerian economy and could further weaken an already weak currency, the Naira.

According to Emefiele, Cryptocurrency is “money created out of thin air”, with the players untraceable and unknown.

In the same vein, Chairman of ICPC Professor Bolaji and the Nigerian Financial Intelligent Unit (NFIU) unanimously agreed that cryptocurrency is being used as channel for funding violence and terrorism in Nigeria.

They all spoke before the Senate joint committee on Banking and insurance, Capital market and Cybercrime.
The central Bank Governor Godwin Emeifele had been formerly invited to meet with the senate’s joint committee on Banking and insurance, Capital market and Cybercrime to give further explanation of the threats posed by cryptocurrency in Nigeria.
It would be recalled that the Senate last week directed the joint committee to schedule a meeting with the CBN Governor for further briefing on the controversy generated by the ban on cryptocurrency transactions in Nigeria.
In the letter to the CBN Governor, the chairman of the joint committee, senator Uba Sani directed that Emeifele bring not less than 40 hard copies of his deference to the joint committee.
Worried that the ban on use of Cryptocurrencies in Nigeria might hurt the economy, the Senate had summoned Emefiele to defend the Apex bank’s  action.
According to the CBN Governor, “We know enough at this stage to decide that the opaque nature significantly threatens our transaction and as you know the CBN has the primary responsibility to protect the investment of every player in the space”, Emefiele said.

He said Cryptocurrency is used to describe the activities of players in the dark world where the transactions are opaque.

Explaining further he said, Cryptocurrency is used to facilitate scam and money laundering; adding that Nigeria has become the second in the use of Cryptocurrencies used in financing terrorism in the world.

“Our business is not a popularity contest but to protect uninformed players. The decision we have taken is in the best interest of every Nigerian who has nothing to hide.

“Transactions are extremely opaque, they are dark, they are not visible and they are not transparent.
“In another parlance, this are people who do not want a trail but indeed by its nature cannot be trailed.

“These definition alone are scary enough to create anxiety on any regulator or SEC or Central Banking any part of the world.
“That is the reason virtually all regulators in the World are weary to recognize it. Since Nigerians delved into it’s usage, we have been studying it’s development and paying close attention to currencies n that space.

“Now, we know enough at this stage to decide that the continuation of these opaque activities significantly threatens the safety and soundness of our financial independence and like you know.
“The CBN has as it’s nature all responsibility as the primary regulator to protect the activities all actors and stakeholders and particularly the uninformed actors in that space.

“For the financial system, all actors who may want to take advantage of their knowledge otherwise to reap where others of the uninformed loss.

“That is the reason we have asked all banks to resist, desist, and, indeed desist from operating account of cryptocurrency dealers in Nigeria.

“For avoidance of  doubt we have asked our banking supervision, our payment system and our IT department to carryout a thorough investigation through the activities of current exchanges and their major players.

“The result of their investigation will lead to better understanding of their activities and maybe unveiled to all in due course.

However, he said they know that Cryptocurrency has been used to facilitate scams which are popularly called 419 transactions that have been known to facilitate money laundering.
“It has been known to facilitate an avenue through which kidnappers receive ransoms and they have been known to be instruments that have been used to finance terrorism, not just in Nigeria but in different parts of the world where these have thrived.

“That is why sometimes we wonder from Data available that Nigeria comes second in the world.
“Most of us are prodding the fact that Nigeria comes second in the world with the use of a tools that facilitates scam and 419: We come second in the world with the use of tool that are used to finance terrorism.
“Let me state that this decision is in the best interest of every well meaning Nigeria who have nothing to hide and is happy to have traceable and transparent dealings in our financial system

“I do not know how many of you may have heard that the international monetary Funds, the US the United Kingdom, Europe agree with us and highlighted that a vast majority of Central Bank around the World have taken the same position as we have done in Nigeria
The Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Commission (ICPC), Bolaji Owasanoye said EndSARS protest was largely financed by cryptocurrency; and an  indication that it could be used to fund Insurgency.

This was as the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit(NFIU), said his agency averted a $3million fraud linked to twenty bank accounts.

The ICPC boss backed the position of the Central Bank; stressing that Cryptocurrency lends itself to money laundering and terrorism financing.

He further disclosed that the anti-graft agency currently has a number of cases linked to Cryptocurrency but is unable to track the suspects.

In kicking against Cryptocurrency, he reminded the Senate how in 2018 a number of globally rated financial institutions had their financial statements hacked with the perpetrators asking to be paid in Cryptocurrencies.

The ICPC Chairman said while the CBN as regulator has responsibility to ensure sound financial stability; it will be difficult to achieve in the case of Cryptocurrencies where the role players are unknown.

To drive home his point, he left the lawmakers with a warning to urgently take decisive action against Cryptocurrencies sharing with them the experience of the Indian Supreme Court and how it ruled and admitted that it “does not know what it is”.

In his own presentation, the Director/CEO, NFIU, Tukur Moddido kicked strongly against Cryptocurrencies; pointing out that it failed the critical tests of vulnerability and attendant risks.

According to Modibbo, the NFIU  through its Cyber Intelligence stopped a scam of roughly $3 million.

Earlier, the Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Lamido Yuguda seems to have a more liberal stance toward the use of Cryptocurrencies when he said it should and can be regulated.

Without dismissing the fears expressed by the CBN, NFIU and ICPC, the SEC boss said his agency can develop an appropriate regulatory framework to protect investments in Cryptocurrencies and ensure the operators are duly registered.

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