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Cameron Prepares New EU Policy After Lisbon Treaty Decision

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David Cameron yesterday began to outline his new Europe policy following a decision from the Czech constitutional court that is likely to lead to the Lisbon treaty being implemented throughout the European Union within days.
The Conservative leader said he was “very disappointed” by the Czech court decision.
He also implied that, if the treaty does come into force, the Tories will drop their proposal to put it to a referendum. He said he would announce details of his new policy “probably later this week”.
All EU countries apart from the Czech Republic have already ratified the Lisbon treaty and the only person stopping it coming into force has been the Eurosceptic Czech president, Václav Klaus, who said he would not sign while the treaty was still being challenged in the Prague courts.
But this morning the Czech constitutional court dismissed objections lodged by a group of Czech senators who claimed the treaty launches a European superstate and is incompatible with the Czech constitution.
Klaus did not issue an immediate response, but he has previously said that he would not continue to oppose the treaty if it won the approval of the constitutional court and he is now expected to sign the treaty shortly.
In an interview on LBC yesterday , Cameron said he was “disappointed” by the Czech court’s decision.
“I hope, of course, [Klaus] doesn’t sign the treaty but I suspect time is running out,” the Conservative leader said.
Tory Eurosceptics have been alarmed at reports that the party may sidestep its pledge to hold a referendum if the Czech Republic agrees to ratify Lisbon. But Cameron told LBC that he would be entitled to drop his referendum pledge after ratification because the treaty would cease to exist and instead be part of European law.
“I believe we should have a referendum, and we’ve campaigned for it, we’ve fought for it, we’ve put it up front and centre at election campaign after election campaign, we’ve challenged the prime minister about his broken promise in the Commons, we’ve tried to persuade other European countries not to sign the treaty, because we think the British people should be allowed a referendum,” Cameron said.
“But if the treaty is signed, if it is implemented, if it is put in place by all 27 countries, then clearly the situation will have changed and we’ll have to address that changed situation. It won’t be a treaty any more; it will be part of European law.”
Cameron added: “If this treaty becomes law, it becomes law along with all the other treaties that have been passed into European law and we’ll have to explain what a Conservative government would do to try and make sure that Britain had her rights protected and defended properly.”
Cameron said that he would announce his next step “later this week”, although the influential Tory website ConservativeHome said that Cameron ought to respond yesterday to prevent a backlash from Eurosceptics gaining momentum.
There have been reports that Cameron would promise that a Conservative government would change the law to ensure that any new EU treaty needed to be approved by a referendum.
Gordon Brown said today that he hoped that the Lisbon treaty would be ratified by the Czechs “very soon” in the light of yesterday ’s court decision.
Brown also said that he hoped ratification would allow the EU to stop arguing about constitutional issues and to instead focus on issues such as employment, growth and security.
“I hope that we can set aside years of constitutional and institutional debate and years of having to deal with institutional issues and that we can move forward and deal with the main issues that the European Union must now face,” Brown said.
The treaty will streamline EU decision-making procedures and create the post of EU president, which Brown wants to go to Tony Blair.
Yesterday Chris Bryant, the Europe minister, told BBC News that Cameron would be “fibbing” if he promised to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU because there was no support from other EU countries for a move of this kind.
“One cast-iron guarantee has already rusted,” said Bryant, referring to Cameron’s promise to hold a referendum. “Any other guarantee that he issues this week won’t be worth the paper it’s written on.”

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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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