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Oil Pollution: RSG To Imprison Offenders

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In a bid to rid the environment of all forms of pollution arising from oil exploration and exploitation in Rivers State, the state government has proposed a new law stipulating stiff penalty, for companies and imprisonment for individuals who pollute the environment.
Disclosing this in an exclusive interview with The Tide , Sunday night in Abuja, Rivers State Commissioner for Environment, Bar Kingsley Chinda said the law to be known as the Rivers State Environmental Law is designed to ensure a healthy environment throughout the length and breath of the state as it would checkmate the excess of oil companies and is a step ahead of federal law on environment.
Barr Chinda who was in Abuja to attend Supreme Court sitting last Monday in the case between the state Governor, Rt Hon Chibuike Amaechi and Labour Party gubernatorial candidate in the April 14, 2007 gubernatorial election in the state, Chief Soberekon said the state government is determined to rid the state of pollution of all kinds and would not go back from its resolve.
We have proposed an environmental bill, tagged Rivers State Environmental Law that has gone s step further than federal law on environment.
“It ensures that the polluter clears pollution within a space of one month, where the (polluter) fails, it (bill) carries penalty not just financial but imprisonment”.
Hon Chinda said the ministry of Environment has been able to commence a quick response process to calls from polluted areas of the state, right from Ogoniland to Abua axis in the last two years of the Amaechi administration but regretted that government has so far not been given maximum co-operation from the multinational companies operating in the state.
‘We have not recorded maximum cooperation from the facility owners and most often they hinge their complaints on security, that the security situation in their host communities has made it difficult for them to clear such pollutions from the affected communities.
Chinda told our Abuja correspondent that the government is determined to beautify the environment as it targets the planting of five million trees in the state, with the co-operation of citizens.
The tree planting campaign recently launched in the state, he said, was meant to achieve this, stressing that if we all adopt one tree, “you will find that we planted about five million trees in Rivers State. It will check flooding and erosion and clears the air”.
Bar Chinda said in a quest to achieve a new healthy and beautiful environment, the government has begone a re-branding campaign of its citizens with the launching of RIVGREEN Initiative which covers special aspects and facets of the ministry’s operations, mobilization and enlightenment.
He said it is in line with this that the RIVGREE clubs and school societies were launched, noting that about 28 secondary schools all tertiary schools in the state, except College of Arts and Science (CAS) and Colleges of Education have RIVGREEN clubs, where the members are taughts on environmental issues on the 3Rs in waste management.
The 3Rs are Waste Reduction, waste Re-Use and Waste Recycling.
Also taught, Barr Chinda said, are global issues and carbon sequestration which is the process of cleaning the environment for example by planting more trees.

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Economic Growth, Determining Factor For Policies In 2023  – Stockbrokers

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Chairman of Research and Technology at the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), Mr. Akeem Oyewale, has said that economic growth and development should be the determining factor in policies ahead of 2023.
Oyewale, who said this recently at the institute’s Annual National Economic Review and Outlook 2022 webinar  in Lagos, urged policy makers to act in a spirit of justice and tolerance to avoid acts that could lead to violence in the run-up to the 2023.
Speaking on the topic: “Global Dynamics Shaping Nigeria‘s Economic Future”, Oyewale listed factors such as the process leading up to the 2023 general elections, the response to Omicron, and the effects of COVID-19, as what would also determine the growth of the nation’s economic development.
He used the fora to urge the Federal Government to intensify its engagement with Nigeria’s capital market to better smoothly finance the 2022 budget deficit without increasing borrowing.
Oyewale also directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to fully consider the effects on the capital market when making monetary and fiscal policies.
According to him, the philosophy of building an economy led by the private sector enshrined in the National Development Plan must be strictly adhered to.
On the need for new listings, Oyewale said Nigeria National Petroleum Company’s trading should continue with the public listing of its shares on the stock market.
This, he explained, would give Nigerians the opportunity to co-own one of the country’s commanding heights.
“The CBN and banks should grant trading facilities to securities trading firms in the country to maintain optimism in the capital market”, he said.
Speaking further, he urged pension funds and other institutional investors to increase their investment in the stock market to create much-needed stability and encourage new investment.
Earlier, President of the CIS Council, Mr Olatunde Amolegbe,  said the institute would continue with initiatives that would enhance its growth and development in 2022.
Amolegbe stated that CIS would undertake activities that would promote capital market literacy in all geopolitical zones of the country, saying that he would strengthen collaboration with international professional bodies such as CISI UK and others for the benefit of their members.
He continued that the institute was working to increase the number of Nigerian universities offering graduate and undergraduate courses in securities and investment/capital market studies.
“Our vision by 2023 is to see the Securities and Investments profession registered in the hearts of young Nigerian academics as their preferred career path and CIS as the model to be followed by other professional bodies,” he concluded.

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PenCom Completes Review Of Pension Reform Act 2014

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The regulatory body of the Nigerian Pension Industry, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) says it has deliberated on the review of the Pension Reform Act 2014 (PRA 2014).
This was contained in a statement to newsmen signed by Peter Aghahowa, Head, Corporate Communications of PenCom, who disclosed that the regulator organised the retreat on the review of PRA 2014 in Abuja between January 12 and 14.
According to Aghahowa, the retreat was aimed at identifying salient issues to be reviewed in the PRA 2014 as a prelude to advancing legislative action on the bill.
Aghahowa said it is expected that the National Assembly would subsequently organise a public hearing to provide an avenue for stakeholders to formally make input into the proposed amendments.
He also said that the PRA 2014 was enacted following a review of the initial PRA of 2004, which introduced legal and institutional frameworks of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) and established PenCom to regulate and supervise all pension matters in Nigeria.
According to him, the Director-General of PenCom, Aisha Dahir-Umar, during the opening ceremony of the retreat, had informed the participants that the PRA 2014 codified one of the most important socio-economic reform initiatives of the Federal Government.
He continued that she said this has brought about a pension industry that has accumulated pension assets in excess of N13 trillion invested in various aspects of the Nigerian economy.
He quoted her as saying that “the review is a corollary to some implementation challenges encountered with certain sections of the Act not long after its enactment in July 2014.
“This was also an addition to persistent calls from stakeholders for the amendment of some sections of the Act, which resulted in several legislative initiatives through the sponsorship of Bills for amendment of the PRA 2014 by the National Assembly.
“Consequently, the Commission as the regulator of the pension industry, decided to coordinate and harmonize the various efforts in order to achieve a comprehensive and constructive exercise for the review of PRA 2014”, he concluded.

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Speed Up Resolutions On Tax Disputes, FIRS Urges Tribunals

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The Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Mamman Nami, has called on chairmen and commissioners of the Tax Appeals Tribunals (TAT) to devise appropriate mechanisms to achieve early and speedy resolution of tax disputes.
Nami made the appeal in Abuja recently at the opening of a two-day retreat on the new TAT ‘Procedure’ Rules and e-Filing platform.
He advised members of the tribunal to also pay attention to the public concern on the inconsistency in Order III (6) of the new TAT (Procedure) Rules and Paragraph 15(7) of the 5th Schedule to the FIRS (Establishment) Act to avoid litigations.
“I commend the commissioners for contributing to the development of the tax jurisprudence through the delivery of sound judgments.
According to him, from available reports, they have always exhibited a high level of commitment, probity and transparency in the discharge of their responsibilities.
“I want to also use this medium to appreciate and thank the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, and all those who contributed to the development of the new TAT (Procedure Rules) and the e-filling platform.
“These two landmark achievements are expected to improve the efficiency of the tribunals for timely and quicker delivery of judgments, which in turn, will improve compliance and collection,” he said.

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