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FIRS Loses N72bn To Tax Evasion

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service lost a total of N72 billion in 2008 from un-remitted personal income tax deductions, Value Added Tax, and withholding tax (WHT).
To check the trend, the FIRS said it would soon make possession of tax clearance certificates a requirement to have access to certain government services.
According to the FIRS, the ministries and agencies involved in the non-remission of taxes include the Nigeria Universities Commission, NUC, and Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. If such taxes had been remitted into the coffers of the Federal Inland Revenue service it would have helped to solve a lot of outstanding problems in the country in the face of the current global meltdown.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has approved a new tax administration system known as “Unique Tax Payers Identification Number, UTPIN”.
The approval was given at the monthly National Economic Council, NEC, meeting held recently at the State House, Aso Villa, Abuja, and presided over by Vice President Goodluck Jonathan.
Governor of Zamfara State, Mahmud Shinkafi who briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting said UYPIN was part of the overall reform of the tax system to make it more efficient.
He said the new scheme would help in solving the problem of double taxation and would place the country’s tax administration among the developed and efficient ones.
“When this is done, every tax payer will have his or her tax identification number, such as obtained in other developed countries,” he said.
Shinkafi said the bio-metric cards containing the particulars of each tax payer would be issued centrally. He said the project would cost N7.4 billion, out of which the federal government would contribute 50 percent, while the state and local government would provide the balance.
In a related development, the council also approved a recall of the N100 billion released to two commercial banks, from the N200 billion approved for large scale commercial farming in the country.
But in another development, the federal government, states and local governments shared N326 billion in June, 2009, indicating a drop of about N4 billion from the N330 billion that was shared in May.
The amount include N27.8 billion supplement from the Excess Crude Account and N38.4 billion revenue from the value added tax, VAT.
This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the monthly meeting on the Federal Account Allocation Committee, FAAC, held in Abuja recently. The communiqué was signed by the Accountant General of the Federation, AGF, Ibrahim Dankwambo.
The committee stated that the distributable statutory revenue for the month was N259.1 billion, which showed an increase of N4 billion compared with that of the month of May.
Without the excess crude account supplement and the VAT, the Federal Government had N124.3 billion, the states got N63.1 billion, the local councils received N48.6 billion and the 13 percent derivation translating to N23. 1 billion.
“The increase is distributable income which was attributed to a rise in petroleum profit tax collection as a result of increase in the OPEC Reference Basket coupled with higher prices of crude oil,” the committee stated.

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Trade Modernisation: Customs’ CG Tours Huawei, Port In China

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The Comptroller-General  of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Adewale Adeniyi, recently led his team to the Headquarters of Huawei, a famous information and communications technology company in Shenzhen, China, where he discussed opportunities embedded in Nigeria Customs Service Trade Modernisation Project.
This was disclosed in a press release made available to our correspondent in Lagos by the National Public Relations Officer (NPRO) of the Service, CSC Maidawa yesterday.
According to the release, the CGC’s visit to Huawei Headquarters was part of his official visit to the People’s Republic of China for the 6th Global AEO Conference that took place in the city of Shenzhen between Wednesday, 8th May, Friday, 10 May, 2024.
Stating the purpose of his visit to the company’s office on behalf of his team, CGC Adeniyi said, “We are also delighted to associate with the Global Leader Technology Services through the Team of Trade Modernisation.”
It would be recalled that the Service had, during the Huawei Connect 2023 held in Shanghai in October, 2023, expressed readiness to deploy some of the company’s latest products for use in its trade modernisation project.
The CGC, who urged Huawei’s company leadership to sustain their digitalisation services to NCS, also sought their support to collaborate with the Nigeria Customs Service to maintain their transformative journey with the company.
On his part, Xujing Xu, the Huawei Company’s Vice President of Smart Transportation, welcomed the delegation of the NCS led by Adeniyi and the Management Team of the Trade Modernisation Project (TMP) Limited, led by Chairman Saleh Ahmadu.
He expressed confidence that their collaboration will benefit all parties involved, noting that “the foundational work for this transformation is already underway”.
The TMP Chairman, Saleh Ahmadu, during his address, said Huawei is living up to expectations to deliver its mandate under the auspices of Trade Modernisation Project Limited.
He appreciated the support accorded to him by the CGC and his management team towards the success of the NCS Trade Modernisation Project.
In his bid to upscale the level of NCS modernisation, the Comptroller-General of Customs, alongside members of the Trade Modernisation Project led by Chairman Saleh Ahmadu, visited Lantan Port to witness the level of automation and technological solutions provided by Huawei and other tech partners.

In a related development, a training programme on Trends and Digital Solutions for Customs officials and the TMP team was organised by Huawei the same day, which focused on equipping officials with the necessary skills to navigate the digital landscape of modern trade.

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NERC Declares Most Discos Insolvent 

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Most of the lectricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) in Nigeria have been said to be technically insolvent and unable to not only pay for invoices sent to them from the electricity market, but also invest in network expansion projects.
Speaking at the 8th Africa Energy Market Place 2024 in Abuja, Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Engr. Sanusi Garba, said the poor financial state of the DisCos makes it difficult for them to raise the needed capital to invest.
Garba noted that the challenges facing the sector were a culmination of past inactions and missteps by those saddled with the responsibilities of managing the sector, both at policy and operational levels.
According to him, “Today when you look at distribution companies, they are clearly and technically insolvent, and you also want them to raise capital in terms of debt or equity. It’s a herculean task.
“I also want to mention that implementing the power sector reform requires powerful political will to implement decisions that impact the wider public”.
On his part, the Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, said the government was working to get the distribution companies solvent and effective by unbundling their operations along state boundaries.
Adelabu insisted that the areas covered by the current DisCos are too large for them to deliver effective services to consumers.

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PH To Get Two CNG Refuelling Stations, Vehicle Conversion Parks

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Rivers State Capital, Port Harcourt, is set to have two Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) refuelling stations as well as two Vehicle Conversion Parks.
The Chief Executive Officer, FEMADEC Energy Limited, Fola Akinola, revealed this at the South-South/South-East Stakeholders Engagement Meeting on Presidential Initiative on CNG held in Port Harcourt, Weekend
Akinola, who stated that modalities have been concluded on the project, stressed the need for investment by stakeholders as a way of driving home the initiative of the Federal Government to ease the gas plight of its citizens.
Akinola said, “CNG is an old technology. We want to tell you that you have the opportunity to convert your vehicle from fuel to CNG. The stations will be launched in Port Harcourt and we are launching a refueling unit alongside. Rivers State is going to have a micro refuelling unit at Stadium Road and in GRA.
“For those that want to invest in CNG refuelling units, it is available. Even those who have fuel station facilities can as well invest in this”.
Earlier, the Programme Director, Presidential Initiative on Compressed Natural Gas, Michael Oluwagbemi, noted that Rivers State was the heart of oil and gas Region, insisting that the initiative was for the good of the nation as a whole.
“The initiative of the government is critical to our national development and to the well-being of the people. Rivers State is the heart of the oil and gas region”, he stated.
Oluwagbemi, however, expressed regret that over the last five to six decades, these resources have continued to waste.
“Nigeria is the second largest waste of oil and gas. We exploit it and waste it, then continue to suffer poverty. The President has set us on natural gas features and set up the nation on the path of growth. The use of gas ensures we have energy savings. Mind you, the price of Natural gas is controlled by the government.
“What the President is asking is to do more with the blessings God has given us. If we are able to move three million vehicles in the next three years, we are going to end the era of environmental degradation”, he said.
The Programme Director further said, “We will stop subsidising poverty, importing unemployment and exporting jobs.

By: Lady Godknows Ogbulu

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