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EU To Spend £ 2.87mTo Stop Gas Flaring In Rivers, Bayelsa

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The European Union (EU) has made public the availability of about 2.87 million Euros to be invested in a project to reduce gas flaring in the Niger Delta region, particularly in Rivers and Bayelsa states, over a period of 39 months.

This was disclosed in a pre-feasibility study for the EU-Nigeria Dialogue on Energy, released on Thursday, during a workshop in Abuja, by the Delegation of European Communities to Nigeria.

According to the document, the Nigerian energy sector has been in crisis for many years, adding that “The objective is to catalyse the development of natural gas and renewable energy markets and sustainable community-based energy facilities within and beyond target communities and target states, through policy reform and by demonstrating that alternative community-based energy facilities can provide sufficient power for meeting rural and urban community needs.”

According to the EU, Nigeria could be said to be in a series of downward spirals “In terms of energy issues”.

“Areas of concern include oil (refining, fuel subsidies, bunkering); gas (flaring, the implementation of the Gas Master Plan); electricity (6000MW, widespread use of generators); coal (little coal mining, partial privatisation, large numbers of redundancies); uncompleted reforms and employee concerns and poor quality of power sector data.”

The EU noted other challenges in the industry to include corruption, weak nuclear aspirations, renewable energy, environmental challenges, poor transmission and distribution infrastructure, erratic pricing policy for electricity and petrol, lack of maintenance and open door policy, as well as tensions between private and public participants and state and federal governments.

The EU has also recommended the establishment of a Niger Delta Development Trust Fund/Bank to help with the reconstruction and development of the area, in the aftermath of the amnesty by the federal government.

It recommended as part of on-going efforts to develop the region, and ultimately the nation’s energy sector, the creation of Niger Delta Development Trust Bank Fund or bank in the mould of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

It said, “We believe that the problems facing the energy sector in Nigeria are systemic, meaning that solutions have to cover the whole system and not isolated parts of it. Systemic failure needs systemic solutions.

“Key areas of recommendation to revamp the sector including support to domestic gas development, integrated package of local content and capacity building, development of clusters, and a Niger Delta Development Trust Fund or bank as with the successful example of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.”

These new energy sources, he said, could contribute to a Nigerian economy that is based on energy efficiency as well as contribute to lifting millions out of poverty.

“Think of the boost the realisation of the government’s plan on power generation and distribution could have on private sector, particularly on small and medium enterprises, on job creation, poverty reduction and achievement of the MDGs,” he said.

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Customs Intercepts N6, 974m Worth PMS

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Barely two weeks after seizing a tank-full equivalent of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), known locally as petrol, the  Seme Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has intercepted 1005 jerry cans of the same product.
The product, amounting to 3000 litres, is with Duty Paid Value (DPV) worth  of N6,974,750.00.
A statement signed by the Command’s Spokesman, DSC Hussaini Abdullahi, and made available to our correspondent in Lagos at the weekend, said the seizure was made during a routine check of the adjoining creeks, beaches, and flash points.
The statement quoted the Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Bello Mohammed Jibo, as saying that “as long as unrepentant and undesirable elements engage in acts of economic sabotage and smuggling, so shall officers and men remain a step ahead to counter their illicit trades”.
The statement further reads: “In continuation of our efforts to suppress smuggling of petroleum products within the nooks and crannies of the command, officers and men of the Seme Area Command on a routine patrol along the creeks within Seme and Badagry intercepted another large quantity of petroleum products in sacks.
“After successful evacuation of the said item to the command’s premises where examination was conducted, one thousand and five (1005)x 30 litres of jerry cans of petroleum products each, equivalent to thirty thousand, one hundred and fifty (30,150) litres  were discovered. The Duty Paid Value (DPV) is Six million, nine hundred and seventy four thousand, seven hundred and fifty naira (N6,974,750.00), only”.
While showcasing the seized products, Jibo commended the doggedness, patriotism, dedication and high level of professionalism exhibited by his men, noting that the new Land Cruiser patrol vehicles (Buffalo) recently donated to commands by the Management of the NCS has aided the operation of the command, as the vehicles enhance access to a wider circle.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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NASS, MDAs’ Non-Remittance Of Taxes Cost FIRS N5.8bn …NCAA Tops Defaulters With N2,984bn

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Non-remittance of tax deductions by the National Assembly, comprising the Senate and House of Representatives, as well as Federal Ministries, Departments, and Agencies has resulted in a loss of tax revenue amounting to N5.8 billion by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in 2019.
Disclosing this in its 2019 Annual Report on non-compliance, internal control, and weakness issues in MDAs of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation said it is for the year ended December 31, 2019.
The MDAs, according to the Report, are the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; Federal College of Freshwater Fisheries Technology, New Bussa; Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria; Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority; Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited; Hussaini Adamu Federal Polytechnic, Jigawa State; Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, Nasarawa State; Department of Petroleum Resources; National Assembly Service Commission; and Nigerian Correctional Services.
It stated that between 2018 and 2019, the MDAs failed to either remit one per cent stamp duty, value added tax, withholding tax or Pay As You Earn tax deducted from awarded contracts, thereby contravening sections of the Financial Regulations and Treasury Circular issued on December 29, 2015.
The Report further stated that Paragraph 234(I) of the Financial Regulations states that “it is mandatory for accounting officers to ensure full compliance with the dual roles of making provision for the Value Added Tax and withholding tax due on supply and services contract and actual remittance of same”.
Specifically, it quoted Paragraph 235, saying, “Deduction of VAT, WHT, and PAYE shall be remitted to Federal Inland Revenue Service at the same time the payee who is the subject of deduction is paid”.
It continued that the Treasury circular Ref No. TRY/A12&B12/2015 and OAGF/CAD/VOL.II/390, dated December 29, 2015, states that “1% Stamp Duty chargeable on contract awards and the remittance be made to the relevant tax authority (Federal Inland Revenue Service)”.
The Report also stated: “The audit observed that the sum of N5,828,621,715.06 was the amount of taxes not remitted by 12 Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
“The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has the highest amount of N2,984,887,250.00, while Federal College of Freshwater Fisheries Technology, New Bussa has the least amount of N1,021,011.13”.

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NCS, Apapa Records N870,39bn Revenue Boost

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The Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) recorded an impressive performance in its revenue generation and anti-smuggling campaign in 2021.
Disclosing this recently during a review of its activities in 2021, the Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Yusuf Malanta, said the sum of N870.38 billion of the N2.24 trillion announced recently by the Service was collected in Apapa Command in 2021.
Giving an insight into the command’s revenue profile, Malanta told newsmen that the  N870.38 billion collected by the command was 68 percent more than what was collected in 2020 which was N518.4 billion.
He stayed that the Command recorded 103 seizures worth N31 billion in 2021.
Malanta identified the seizures as 46.55kg of cocaine, which was concealed on board MV Karteria and MV Chayanee Naree laden with raw sugar; containers of foreign parboiled rice, tomato paste, secondhand clothes, unregistered pharmaceuticals such as captagon pills, tramadol, codeine syrup, etc.
“These were seizures made in accordance with the provisions of sections 46, 47, and 161 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) CAP C45 LFN 2004. These seizures are condemned by a competent court of law and the suspects are still undergoing investigation and interrogation”, the Customs boss said.
He continued that 5.38 metric tons of non-oil commodities were exported through the command as against 1.3 million metric tons in 2020.
According to him, the Free on Board (FOB) value for the exported items rose from $340 million (N140 billion) in 2020 to $641 million (N264 billion) last year.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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