The Federal Government on Wednesday resolved that henceforth, it would be deducting any illegal fees imposed on mining companies by state governments from the allocation of such states.
It has therefore directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, to begin to implement the directive.
The decision was reached at a meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Mohammed said the decision was taken to eradicate double taxation in the mining sector and also gain investors’ confidence.
He said, “On the issue of double taxation whereby mining companies are taxed by local and state governments, two decisions were taken.
“One is that the council directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to deduct directly from federal allocations of states which have deprived Federal Government of Nigeria’s revenue due to it by imposition of illegal taxes and levies on mining companies in their states.
“In other words, if a particular state engages in double taxation, you are imposing illegal taxes on a duly registered mining company, and it is reported to government, the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning will deduct that money from your allocation.
“The intent is to ensure that we don’t scare away investors, be they local or foreign. This will go a long way to reassure the investors that Nigeria is a safe place to invest now.”
The minister added that FEC also directed the National Economic Council to dialogue with the state governors in order to make them understand that states can participate in mining as corporate bodies by registering companies.
He reiterated the position of the law that the Federal Government had the exclusive right to mine and manage all mineral resources.
Mohammed added that the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, who presented a memorandum to the council, also identified insecurity in certain parts of the country as one of the major challenges facing the mining sector.
He noted that in the North Western part of the country, mining had been suspended because of the activities of bandits and kidnappers.
He added that the industry was also faced with the problem of collision between some stakeholders, sometimes the traditional rulers.
He also reported certain decisions of past government in the area of storage of explosives that were used for mining.
Mohammed said, “Before now, the position is that any miner that wants to use explosives for mining must store them in either the military barracks or police facilities.
“So, he (Adegbite) asked for special dispensation to build special facilities at least one in each of the geo-political zones of the country. He also complained about extortion, the position of community development agreement, and the issue of many illegal miners.”
The minister said the council noted that insecurity and illegal mining had led to a huge loss of money and directed the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, to set up a special unit domiciled in Abuja to carry out targeted operations at identified and confirmed illegal mining sites nationwide.
FRSC To Clampdown On Traffic Offenders In Rivers
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has threatened to clampdown on all those that disregard road traffic rules, particularly those that make phone calls while driving and one-way drive.
FRSC says that making phone calls while driving is a very serious offence, and that those that will be caught from now will be arrested and made to go for Psychological Examination.
The Rivers State Sector Commander of FRSC, Salisu Umaru, who made this known in a media interaction in Port Harcourt Monday, noted that the command was not happy with the way some people disobeyed traffic signs and laws.
According to him, the sector is embarking on the ‘ember’ months enlightenment and enforcement campaign where all the machineries of FRSC will be fully mobilised to work.
“I don’t like the way some people drive in Rivers state. You see people driving one-way, not obeying traffic signs and laws, making phone calls while driving.
“ We want to stop these things in Rivers state. We will arrest and send offenders on psychology examination to ascertain why they do such things.
“ Psychological examination is not the same thing as Psychiatric examination. We are to do preventive enforcement on all Nigerian roads, whether federal or state.
“FRSC is not all about enforcement, but we do corrections.There are times we caution offenders without booking them, and that is official for us”, Umaru said. On why the FRSC made serious checks on vehicle plate numbers, the sector boss explained that the purpose was purely for security, to check criminal activities on vehicle procurement, and also those that used them for crime.
The FRSC sector boss also said that his corps were coming up with some help areas where people that have one problem or the other on the road could be attended to, with ambulance stationed there.
He said that the state government has been notified of the intentions, which according to him, was geared towards safety of lives on the road.
By: Corlins Walter
NIMASA, BPSR Partner On Maritime Transformation
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) are currently in talks on how to implement transformational initiatives in the maritime sector.
Speaking in Abuja during a visit to the Bureau, NIMASA’s Director General, Dr Bashir Jamoh, emphasised the importance of efficient and effective public service to Nigeria’s economic prosperity, adding that the agency is committed to collaborate with the ongoing initiative.
Jamoh, who was represented by the agency’s Director, Reform Coordination and Strategic Management, Dr Kabir Murnai, said the partnership would be focused on reform initiatives and development research.
According to him, a sustainable relationship between the two Federal Government agencies was essential for capacity development.
He stated: “We are here to see how we can connect with BPSR in order to clearly understand and key into government’s specific priorities, while still pursuing the respective mandates and goals of NIMASA.
“We desire advisory and technical support services for change management teams, to engender an environment of learning within NIMASA”.
Similarly, Director of BPSR, Mr Dasuki Ibrahim Arabi, pledged the Bureau’s commitment to the collaborative agreement for the mutual benefit of the two agencies.
LCCI Pushes For Immediate Implementation Of CAMA 2020
Amidst the controversies surrounding the new Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is now pressing for urgent gazetting of the law, saying delay in gazzetting the law is creating uncertainties in business decision.
Director General, LCCI, Dr Muda Yusuf, in a statement made available to The Tide yesterday, noted that the delay in gazetting the law is yet another example of how bureaucratic bottlenecks are allowed to impede economic progress.
It would be recalled that CAMA 2020 was assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari over a month ago, following which several groups alleged that certain sections of the new law were draconian and could precipitate unwholesome take-over of private entities by the government.
But Yusuf stated: “The legislation and the subsequent assent were widely applauded by the business community”, lamenting that six weeks after the legislation’s presidential assent, it is yet to be gazetted”.
He stated further that, “The implication of this is that the formal copy of the law is not yet available to the public and therefore the law cannot be operationalised. This is yet another example of how bureaucratic bottlenecks could impede the progress of an economy.
“Ordinarily, and in line with the ongoing digital revolution and the E- Government agenda of government, the law should have been uploaded on the Federal Government and National Assembly websites hours after the assent by the President.
“Being a major business legislation, the non-availability of the gazetted copy of CAMA 2020 has stalled many activities in the business environment. These are activities anchored on the new legislation.
“Additionally, the regulations that ought to be issued by the Corporate Affairs Commission on account of the new legislation have equally been stalled because there is no formal document to act upon.
“The situation has created enormous uncertainty in business decisions which require the legislative anchor of CAMA 2020 to progress. As it were, a legislative vacuum has been created. The CAMA 1990 has been repealed, CAMA 2020 is yet to be gazetted , six weeks after assent.
“It is important that the bureaucracy works in tandem with the new normal of leveraging technology so that the desired outcomes of reforms can be achieved, and expeditiously too.
“The implementation of the e-Government programmes should be accelerated to make the public service smarter, efficient and cost effective.
“Given the current wave of digital revolution sweeping across the public and private sectors, the role of the Federal Government Press in the dissemination of official legislations and other publications is at risk of diminishing relevance.
“It has become imperative for electronic copies of official publications to be promptly disseminated to the public to ensure swift activation and access to the benefits and values which such publications offer for the economy and the society”.
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