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RSG Kick-Starts Another Phase Of Projects’ Commissioning, Today

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The Rivers State Government will, today, continue another week-long scheduled commissioning of mega projects with significant socio-economic impact on the people as part of its policy to bequeath world-class infrastructures to jump-start the sustainable development of the state.
A statement in Port Harcourt, last Friday, signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, read in full, “Rivers State Government will enter the fifth phase of projects’ commissioning within four months with the inauguration of Rumuji-Ibaa-Obele-Isiokpo Road cutting across Emohua and Ikwerre Local Governments on Monday, March 8, 2021.
“The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Akin Dare, will commission the second phase of the Real Madrid Football Academy on Tuesday, March 9, 2021.
“It will be the turn of Omuhuechi-Omuoko-Omuokiri Road in Ikwerre Local Government Area on Wednesday, March 10, 2021.
“Activities for the week will be rounded off on Friday, March 12, 2021 with the commissioning of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) Secretariat.
“All Covid-19 protocols will be strictly observed at all venues”, the commissioner added, just as he urged people of goodwill in the state to join the government in the celebration of an era of good governance and the delivery of quality projects designed to restore the Garden City status of Port Harcourt while making the whole state tourists and investors’ destination of first choice in Nigeria.
Already, one of the projects, the Real Madrid Football Academy (RMFA), has not only been rated the first of its kind in Africa, but its pioneer admission process has been over-subscribed by candidates from across Nigeria, and indeed, sub-Saharan Africa.

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Rivers Not Fighting FG Over Tax Collection, Wike Clarifies …Introduce Wealth Tax To Check Poverty, Raji Tells Govt

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has said that the state was not fighting the Federal Government or any of its agencies over collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) as being insinuated in some quarters.
This is as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Ahmed Raji, called on the Federal Government to immediately introduce Wealth Tax Policy that would make super-rich Nigerians pay deserved tax that would be used to cater for the down-trodden citizens in the country.
Speaking, yesterday, in Abuja at a public lecture entitled: “Taxing Powers in a Federal System” to mark the 60th birthday of Mr Ahmed Raji (SAN), Wike said that the state was only trying to pursue what was right and legitimate within the ambits of the Constitution.
The governor, who represented by the Attorney-General of the state, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor (SAN), maintained that both Rivers State and the federal governments were co-equal because they both derived their life from the Constitution.
“I have heard a lot of comments being made that we are fighting the Federal Government, there is no desire or any intention of the Rivers State Government to fight the Federal Government.
“The principle of co-equality is fundamental to a federal arrangement, that principle leads to the principle of autonomy; autonomy leads to fiscal autonomy; and fiscal autonomy leads to fiscal federalism; and when you put all the principles together, what it means is that each level of government, whether federal or state is co-equal because none derives its life from the other.
“They both derive their life from the Constitution because they have co-equality.
“That is the fundamental aspect of fiscal federalism, and until we get it, we will continue this journey of talking without result but I think that the court has a role to play, the court can lay this crises and controversy to rest when it makes a pronouncement”, Wike said.
Also speaking at the event, Prof. Abiola Sani appealed to the Judiciary to make definite and definitive pronouncement on the impasse surrounding tax collection in Nigeria’s federal system.
Sani, a professor of commercial law, who was the guest lecturer at the occasion, called on the National Assembly to use the on-going Constitution amendment to bring out clear taxing powers among the three tiers of government.
In his remarks on the excruciating poverty in the country, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN, Ahmed Raji called on the Federal Government to immediately introduce Wealth Tax Policy to make super-rich Nigerians pay the deserved tax that would be used to cater for the down-trodden citizens in the country.
The Abuja-based senior lawyer said that the suggested tax policy, if introduced and implemented, would make the super-rich Nigerians to contribute meaningfully to government’s purse to bridge the gap between the affluent and super poor in the nation.
Raji, who spoke at a public lecture entitled, “Taxing Powers in a Federal System” in Abuja to mark his 60th birthday, remarked that time has come for government to do real balancing between the rich and the poor in Nigeria.
He argued that in the face of harsh economic situation starring poor Nigerians in the face, the poor need to be subsidised and not to be taxed under any guise so as to balance their anger against the rich.
Raji noted that evidence were sufficient that some super-rich class own personal jets worth $50million each at a time when some families could not afford to eat twice a day, adding that the country cannot witness genuine peace under such situation.
“It is a fact that the downturn in Nigeria’s economy is having harsh and devastating effects on the poor majority Nigerians. The wide disparity between the rich and the poor should be of grave concern to patriotic Nigerians and the way out must be found.
“The gap between the rich and the poor is so much and so offensive that it can lead to break down of law and order at any moment.
“It is in the interest of justice that the super-rich should shed part of their stupendous wealth to cater for the down-trodden masses before it is too late.
“Majority of Nigerians are in absolute poverty. Over 90 percentage of the Nigerian population is in abject poverty and time has come for us, including myself to address the ugly situation.
“Any attempt to pretend that all is well may spell doom for the nation. We will be sitting on a keg of powder if we refuse to address the challenges of the poor masses now”, he warned.
He appealed to the government that the instrumentality of Wealth Tax must be adopted and used to develop the Nigerian nation as done in the United States of America, United Kingdom and France.
The senior lawyer said he opted to use the public lecture to mark his birthday so as to use it to draw attention to some burning issues and challenges that deserve public attention rather than mere merry making.

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Buhari Unveils CBN’s eNaira, Today

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President Muhammadu Buhari will formally unveil the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Digital Currency (CBDC), known as the eNaira, today, at the State House, Abuja.
The Director, Corporate Communications of CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, made the disclosure in a statement at the weekend.
The CBN said that the digital currency would be launched with the theme, “Same Naira, More Possibilities”.
According to him, “President Muhammadu Buhari is scheduled to formally unveil the Nigerian Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), known as the eNaira, on Monday, October 25, 2021, at the State House, Abuja.
“The launch of the eNaira is a culmination of several years of research work by the Central Bank of Nigeria in advancing the boundaries of payments system in order to make financial transactions easier and seamless for every strata of the society.
“Following series of engagements with relevant stakeholders including the banking community, fin-tech operators, merchants and indeed, a cross section of Nigerians, the CBN designed the digital currency, which shall be activated on Monday, October 25, 2021.
“The eNaira, therefore, marks a major step forward in the evolution of money and the CBN is committed to ensuring that the eNaira, like the physical Naira, is accessible by everyone.
“Given that the eNaira is a journey, the unveiling marks the first step in that journey, which will continue with a series of further modifications, capabilities and enhancements to the platforms.
“The CBN will continue to work with relevant partners to ensure a seamless process that will benefit every user, particularly those in the rural areas and the unbanked population.
“Since the eNaira is a new product, and amongst the first CBDCs in the world, we have put a structure to promptly address any issue that might arise from the pilot implementation of the eNaira.
“Accordingly, following Monday’s formal launch by the President, the Bank will further engage various stakeholders as we enter a new age consistent with global financial advancement. The theme of the eNaira is: “Same Naira, More Possibilities.”

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Rivers Plans Criminal Proceeding Against Saipem …Accuses Italian IOC Of Breach Of Trust

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Rivers State Government is to initiate criminal proceeding against Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited for breach of trust, which led to abandonment of the state’s gas turbine generator unit and accessories in The Netherlands since 2012.
The decision to file criminal proceeding against Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited was taken at the 15th Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Nyesom Wike at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, the Commissioner for Power, Damiete Herbert-Millier explained that due to the abandonment of the gas turbine generator unit and accessories by Saipem, the Rivers State Government had incurred huge lost in terms of demurrage charges and others.
“Consequently, the council unanimously directed the Attorney General of Rivers State to file criminal proceeding against Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited for her role in this ugly incident.”
The State Executive Council also approved the reconstruction of two roads, Oyigbo-Okoloma and Chokocho-Igbodo totaling 46.5km.
The Commissioner for Works, Elloka Tasie-Amadi said the Oyigbo-Okoloma project scope is 19.4km long at the cost of N11.483billion.
He further stated that the reconstruction of Chokocho-Igbodo Road is 27.1km, awarded at a cost of N13.523billion.
According to him, the two projects are expected to be completed within 12 months.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Finance, Isaac Kamalu, said the council gave approval for the Rivers State medium term expenditure framework 2022-2024.
Kamalu said council also approved the state participation in the Federal Government and Nigerian Governors’ Forum supported bridging finance support facility for subnational economies designed to cushion the impact of the repayment of the bailout.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Projects, Alabo George-Kelly said the council approved the award of contract for the construction of the Rivers State Magistrate Court Complex at the cost of N8.1billion.
He said the scope of the project include, the construction of 24 Magistrate courts, which will be housed in four two storey structure, three floors each.

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