The Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSCON), has disclosed that the Federal Government is currently working with oil-producing communities in the country to review the template for the payment of the 13 per cent derivation of revenue generated from oil and gas directly to host communities.
In an interview with newsmen in Abuja, National Chairman of HOSCON, Mr Mike Emuh, said this became necessary because the Constitution stipulates that proceeds from the 13 per cent derivation of revenues from oil be paid directly to oil-producing communities.
He stated that the review of the payment template was in addition to the approval granted the host communities to engage in pipeline surveillance across the length and breadth of the Niger Delta.
He said: “President Muhammadu Buhari also gave us approval for pipeline surveillance, and gave approval for the review of 13 per cent derivation template, based on the amended 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, which states that the money is the right of the host communities that produce oil and gas, and this is being extended to other minerals, including solid minerals. As we are talking now, we are working on the template.”
He called on President Buhari to ensure that the 13 per cent derivation goes directly to the oil-producing communities by creating a presidential 13 per cent derivation committee, while people from the host communities should be appointed to the committee.
Emuh further called on oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region to pay the outstanding $14billion gas flare penalty levy to the host communities, noting that most of the oil companies had not paid this fine for more than 10 years.
He said the Presidency had created an opportunity for collaboration between the oil-producing communities and the European Union, adding that the latter had advised oil-producing communities to work in synergy with both the international and indigenous oil firms to create an enabling environment for oil operations and economic growth.
He urged the president to mandate all oil companies to relocate their headquarters to the states from which they operate, adding: “The international oil companies should make sure that they relocate from Lagos to the areas of their operations. Their presence in Lagos is already adding to the many challenges of the state, such as in the area of population and traffic congestion.”
Emuh further called on the president to carry along indigenes of oil-producing communities in governance, as according to him, this would create a level playing field for the region and create an enabling environment for industrialisation, increased employment and improved agriculture.
On the issue of insecurity in the country, Emuh said, “I want to say that the issue of insecurity should not be an issue of religion neither should it be an issue of politics. It should be an issue of challenge”.
Buhari’s COS Queries FIRS Chairman Over Worsening Tax Collection
Indications emerged yesterday that the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Abba Kyari, has queried the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr, Babatunde Fowler, over alleged discrepancies in tax collections from 2015 to 2018.
A letter dated August 8, 2019, and addressed to the FIRS chairman, which was signed by Kyari, asked Fowler to explain reasons for ‘significant’ variances in budgeted collections and actual collections of tax in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
In the concerned years, the actual amount collected as tax fell below the budgeted target.
In 2015, actual collection was N3.7tn, while the budgeted target was N4.5tn.
A similar shortfall occurred in 2016, when actual collection was N3.307tn, less than the N4.95tn budgeted target.
Also, in 2017, the FIRS collected a total of N4.027tn, less than the set target of N4.89tn.
NCP Charges FG On Minimum Wage
The National Conscience Party (NCP) has urged the Federal Government to do its best to speedily resolve all issues delaying the implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage.
The Lagos State Chairman of the party, Mr Fatai Ibuowo, gave the advice in an interview with The Tide’s in Lagos, yesterday.
He said workers had endured enough hardship owing to the prevailing economic realities, saying that implementation of the new minimum wage would give them some succour.
“We are appealing to the Federal Government to do its best to implement the N30,000 minimum wage.
“Nigerian workers have faced a lot of hardship because of high costs of goods and services and so cannot wait to be paid the new wage.
“We are aware that there are issues between labour and government on what to pay as increment to those on certain levels,’’ Ibuowo said.
According to him, we must emphasise that all categories of workers deserve substantial wage increments in view of the present economic realities.
Ibuowo implored the government to arrive at a middle ground with labour and speedily implement the Minimum Wage Act, signed in April to better the lots of workers.
He noted that in a country where lawmakers earned what he called “astronomically-high wages and allowances’’, it was unfair not to pay workers a living wage.
The NCP chairman pointed out that the new N30,000 minimum wage, though better than the earlier N18,000, was still one of the lowest in the world .
Ibuowo said insecurity and corruption were major problems in the country, saying the issues could be addressed through improvement in workers’ welfare.
“Insecurity and corruption are two of the major problems facing our country now and we think by improving the welfare of workers, we can substantially address the problem.
EFCC Probes FIRS Staff Over N1.2bn Fraud
As part of its investiga
tion into the N1.2billion duty tour allowance fraud in the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, has commenced a forensic analysis of the bank accounts of the staff members.
The Tide’s source gathered that EFCC detectives had obtained details of the bank accounts of FIRS staff and were carrying out a painstaking forensic investigation into “the financial inflows and outflows” in the various accounts in different commercial banks.
It was gathered that the aim of the detectives was to know the depth of the malfeasance perpetrated by the top echelons of the revenue agency in the last four years.
The commission, in April, 2019, recovered part of the DTA allowance from the beneficiaries who refunded millions of naira.
Following the development, the commission widened its investigation into the contracts awarded by the agency since the FIRS Chairman, Babatunde Fowler, assumed office in 2015.
Our correspondent had reported how Fowler attempted to influence the acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, to drop the ongoing investigation into the sleaze in the FIRS, but the anti-graft agency boss resisted the pressure.
The commission subsequently mobilised different teams to investigate the contract awards and estacode payment for foreign trips by the FIRS management.
Head of the FIRS Coordinator Support Services Group, Peter Hena, who allegedly authorised the illegal payment had reportedly made revealing statements during investigation about how the DTA fraud was perpetrated.
The FIRS Director of Finance, Mr Mohammed Auta, had similarly informed detectives that he acted on the instructions of Hena to disburse the fund.
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