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FIRS Tasks C’ttee On Tax Reforms’ Harmonisation

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), has directed the newly inaugurated Technical Tax Policy Drafting Committee to harmonise the various tax and excise law reforms in the proposed Finance Bill.
The FIRS Chairman, Mr Babatunde Fowler gave the directive at the inaugural meeting of Reconstituted National Tax Policy Implementation Committee (NTPIC) in Abuja yesterday.
Fowler appealed to the technical committee to work assiduously to produce a singular set of fiscal measures that would be considered and approved by the reconstituted NTPIC in the next few weeks.
He also enjoined them to accelerate the drafting and submission of a draft Finance Bill in good time.
“I am charging the chairman and members of this Technical Committee with the responsibility of accelerating the drafting and submission of a draft Finance Bill (and if deemed necessary, any draft Executive Order (s), to harmonise the various tax and excise law reform efforts.
“It is our expectation that the Technical Committee will work assiduously over the next few weeks to produce a singular set of fiscal measures that will be considered and approved by NTPIC.
“Once agreed, these fiscal measures would be submitted to the Economic Management Team, and Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval and ultimate transmission to the National Assembly for passage into law.
“This will be as part of the efforts to support the 2020 Executive Budget Proposal,’’ he explained.
He said that the service under his leadership remained committed to engaging with other tiers and arms of government, particularly the National Assembly to solicit their support on the speedy passage of the bill when presented.
The chairman added that when that was done, the revenue enhancement initiatives of the service would have appropriate legislative backing to be fully effective.
The chairman of the committee, Mr Adeyemi Dipeolu thanked FIRS and pledged on behalf of other members to justify the confidence reposed in them.
Dipeolu said that the task of the committee had been made known and they would work strictly on the template given.
He pledged to engage the organised private sector and other relevant stakeholders to get their inputs in the proposed bill.

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Eco Currency: Finance Ministers, C’Bank Govs Oppose Buhari, Others

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Nigeria and some other West African countries have kicked against the adoption of Eco as regional currency by President Muhammadu Buhari and others.
This is contained in a communiqué read by the Minister for Economy and Finance of the Republic of Guinea, Mr Mamadi Camara, in Abuja, yesterday.
The communiqué was issued after an Extra-Ordinary Meeting of the Ministers of Finance and Governors of the Central Banks of the Member States of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ).
Camara said the meeting noted with concern, the declaration by the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), Alasane Outtarra on December 21, 2019 to unilaterally rename the CFA Franc as “Eco” by 2020.
He said: “WAMZ Convergence Council wishes to emphasise that this action is not in line with the decisions of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS for the adoption of the “Eco” as the name of an independent ECOWAS Single Currency.
“WAMZ Convergence Council re-iterates the importance for all ECOWAS member countries to adhere to the decisions of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government toward the implementation of the revised roadmap of the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme.
“The WAMZ Convergence Council recommends that an Extraordinary Summit of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the WAMZ Member States be convened soon to discuss this matter and other related issues.”
According to him, those at the meeting are, the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Gambia, Mambury Njie and Minister of Finance of Ghana, Ken Ofori Atta.
Others were Minister of Finance and Development Planning Liberia, Samuel Tweah Jr, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Nigeria, Zainab Ahmed and the Minister of Finance, Sierra Leone, Jacob Shaffa.
Also in attendance were Central Bank governors of Gambia, Mr Buah Saidy, Gambia; Ernest Addison of Ghana; Louncenry Nabe of Guinea; Aloysius Tarlue of Liberia; Godwin Emefiele, Nigeria and Kelfala Kallon of Sierra Leone.
The Tide reports that eight West African countries had agreed to change the name of their common currency to Eco, thereby effectively severing the CFA franc’s links to former colonial ruler, France.
The countries include Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

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RSG Dispels Rumours Of Unapproved Structures Demolitions

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The Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Engr Austin Ben-Chioma, has dispelled rumours making the rounds that the state government demolished structures that were not originally marked by the construction company handling the Rumuogba flyover project for demolition.
Ben-Chioma, who cleared the air on the rumours, on Tuesday in a chat with newsmen while supervising the demolition exercise, noted that the ministry only demolished structures that the construction company, Julius Berger had marked as being in the Right of Way (RoW) of the flyover, and for which compensation was paid.
He said that there was enough evidence to show that the ministry had not exceeded the demolition instruction given by Julius Berger Plc.
According to him, “I am on site and evidences are shown as you can see that we did not exceed the red line marked by Berger” adding that the property owners, “are not telling the truth because the evidences are visible and verifiable”.
The commissioner pointed out that, of the three flyovers under construction, the Rumuogba flyover was the longest with about 517.5 metres length.
He, however, noted that there was the challenge of high-rise buildings along the path, which must be cut to maintain the RoW of the flyover, having given the property owners till Thursday, January, 16 (yesterday) to do the reduction themselves to avoid using the ministry’s tractors which could negatively impact the buildings.
On the payment of compensations to those affected by the demolition, the works commissioner said 95 per cent of the compensation had been paid already to affected landlords.
“Government has paid 95 per cent of compensation to property owners and they are complying with the process,” he said.
Corroborating the claims, the consultant in charge of compensation for demolished structures, Mr Emma Wike, said all affected landlords would be paid what is due them by the end of the week.
According to him, most of the claimants, we sent them letters and those that gave power of attorney to consultants, estate surveyors and valuers or lawyers, we also wrote to them and informed them this is where the payment is being held. They’ve been coming to collect their money; within the week, we are going to pay more and if we do that, it will be remaining less than 10 percent of those that have not collected their money.

 

Tonye Nria-Dappa

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CBN Gets New Deputy Gov

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President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated Dr. Kingsley Obiora as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
If confirmed by the Senate, Dr. Obiora will replace Dr. Joseph Nnanna, who retires on February 2, 2020.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, said the President has already forwarded a letter nominating Dr. Obiora to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has sent the name of Dr. Kingsley Isitua Obiora to the Senate for confirmation as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“In a letter to President of the Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, President Buhari said the nomination was in accordance with the provision of Section 8(1) (2) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (Establishment) Act 2007.
“Dr. Obiora, upon confirmation by the Senate, replaces Dr. Joseph Nnanna, who retires on February 2, 2020.
“Dr. Obiora holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Statistics from the University of Benin, a Masters in Economics from the University of Ibadan, and a Doctorate in Monetary and International Economics, also from the University of Ibadan.
“He is currently an Alternate Executive Director in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington DC, United States of America”, the statement said.
Since joining IMF as an Economist in 2007, Dr. Obiora has worked in various countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
While on leave from the IMF, he worked with the Nigerian government as Special Assistant to the President’s Chief Economic Adviser and Technical Adviser to the National Economic Management Team.

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