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See Rivers’ Victory On VAT As Fiscal Federalism Enabler, Wike Tasks States

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has directed the Rivers State Internal Revenue Service (RIRS) to ensure the full implementation and enforcement of the state’s Value Added Tax (VAT) Law.
The governor’s directive follows the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt’s dismissal of an application by Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for a stay of execution over the court’s judgment that declared Rivers State as constitutionally empowered to collect VAT within its jurisdiction.
Wike, in a state-wide broadcast, asserted that with last Monday’s judgement, the way was now clear for his administration to enforce the Rivers State Value Added Tax Law 2021, until otherwise set aside by a superior courts.
“Consequently, I hereby direct the Rivers State Internal Revenue Service (RIRS) to ensure the full and total implementation and enforcement of this law against all corporate bodies, business entities and individuals with immediate effect.
“All corporate bodies, business entities and individuals are advised to willingly; truthfully and promptly comply with their tax obligations under this law to avoid the full weight of the stipulated sanctions, including having their business premises sealed-up.
“I wish to further assure every resident that we shall as usual make effective use of the expected proceeds from this tax to accelerate the development of our state and improve the wellbeing of everyone.”
He maintained that the benefits derivable from the judgement of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt that empowered Rivers State Government to collect Valued Added Tax (VAT) within its jurisdiction also extend to other states because it was their constitutional right and authority.
The governor explained that what the Rivers Sate Government has done was to contribute to the advancement fiscal federalism, in which states can feel empowered to explore their potentials to generate internal revenue to address their development needs.
“And in doing so, our singular and progressive objective was to contribute to the advancement of fiscal federalism by enabling the federating states to explore and exploit their potential and capacity for generating greater internal revenues with which to fund their development goals and reduce the out-dated over-reliance on pitiable federal allocation and other hand-outs.
“Fiscal federalism remains the right path to economic self-reliance and sustainability for all our states and the benefits derivable from this case by all the states in the long run far outweigh the immediate revenue loss that some states may presently suffer.”
The governor noted that when the judgement was first delivered in favour of the Rivers State Government, the Federal Government, through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), disagreed, and filed an appeal, and sought a request for stay-of-execution of the judgment before the Federal High Court.
According to Wike, while the appeal was pending, and without any stay-of-execution of the subsisting judgement, the FIRS went about to bully corporate bodies and business entities from paying the VAT to the Rivers State Government.
Wike said, FIRS did so, even when they knew that an appeal does not serve as a stay, neither was there anything to stay in a declaratory judgement.
“However, being a government that believes in the rule of law we decided on our own to suspend the enforcement of the Rivers State VAT Law 2021 pending the outcome of the FIRS’s application for stay-of-execution.
“Today, the FIRS has failed in its attempt to frustrate the enforcement of the state’s law on VAT with the Federal High Court’s dismissal of its application for stay-of-execution of the judgement.”
The governor stated that the Rivers State Government did no wrong in exercising its legal right under the country’s constitutional democracy to stop the continuing breach, denial and curtailment of the constitutional right of states.
Wike said it was wrong for FIRS to impose and collect VAT and other related taxes within the jurisdiction of Rivers State.
“It is, therefore, very unfortunate that some state governors led by that of Katsina State are vainly conspiring to truncate this progressive reality in favour of the inequitable status quo so that the Federal Government can continue to rob Peter to pay Paul as the nation’s self-imposed tax master-general.
“All that is required is for all of us to wear our thinking caps as elected governors to collectively fight for the greater devolution of resources, responsibilities and powers to the federating states.
“For us in Rivers State, we will continue to ensure and project our constitutional rights to access all possible resources we can take hold both within and outside our geographical boundaries to advance the progress of our state”, he added.

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Make Laws To Advance Nigeria, Not Selves, Fubara Tells NASS …Seeks Concerns Of Women, Issues In Difficult Terrains Addressed

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has challenged the National Assembly Joint Committee on Electoral Matters to focus on amendments that contribute to improving the electoral process in the country for good of society and not to advance individual gains.
The Governor maintained that any legislation targeting to empower or undo particular individual(s) is misplaced, and urged the lawmakers never to pay attention to identified problems it promoted.
Governor Fubara gave the charge when he hosted a delegation of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Electoral Matters, led by its Chairman, Senator Sharafadeen Abiodun Alli and co-Chair, Hon Adebayo Balogun, on courtesy visit to Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The Governor said: “You are still working on your electoral amendment. I wouldn’t say much on that until when we see your proposal and conduct public hearing where we will make our inputs.
“But, legislate in such a way and manner, knowing full well that tomorrow, you will also sit here (executive). So, don’t do it because you are on the other side. And you say, maybe, let it be at the disadvantage of the people sitting here.
“Do your legislation in such a way and manner that when you sit here, those laws that are made can also apply to you, and you will sit and say, yes, I did the right thing.”
Governor Fubara noted that Nigeria is in a very trying time, and needed to be careful not to make costly mistakes that would erase any good work that has been done in the minds of the people to necessitate a fresh start.
The Governor explained that the level of political awareness and the drive among the people to be involved in the political process is higher now than it was about 20 years ago, and urged the lawmakers to be more sensitive to the realities of the times.
Governor Fubara said: “Everybody now understands that political involvement is the key to a better and developed state. Everybody wants to be part of the system, from the local government to the state and to the Federal Government.
“So, I am happy that we are doing this at this time; and not just doing this but taking the most critical aspect of the election: women. If we are talking about election, it is not the men, the true votes that are counted in elections are women and youths.
“So, taking up this very delicate and sensitive subject to addressing the situation at this time, I think the National Assembly is trying to understand and to feel the pulse of our people.”
Governor Fubara particularly noted how difficult it is to conduct elections in Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, and Ondo states because most of the communities are riverine and could take more than two days journey to access them on sea amidst the scare of being kidnapped or suffer boat mishap.
Governor Fubara applauded the committee for the courage to take on such sensitive task of embarking on sensitisation of the people and engaging with them on best way to ensure that they enjoyed greater safety during elections.
He said, “I believe that after this committee’s sensitization programme that you are doing, it is going to help us have a framework that will help us get an amendment that will protect the interest of the women, protect elections in difficult terrains.
“Because most times, when elections are conducted, we will wait two days or more before results from different areas will come in. And when they come, at times, these results decide the total picture of the election.
“Considering this now, I believe that you will come out, work out something that will help us solve this difficult problem.
“But, most importantly, to encourage women, give them opportunity more than the 35 percent Affirmative Action, and something that will give them assurance that they should be part of this process.”
Governor Fubara said his administration understands the importance of opportunities when given and what it means to give people opportunities to actualise their aspirations.
The Governor, therefore, assured that whatever the recommendations they make, if they make it public, the Rivers State will be one of the states that will first implement them.
He added, “But, most importantly, we want you to be our ambassadors. You are a visitor to Rivers State today. You have seen us. When you go back, you should also tell them that it is not really those things that you are hearing. Tell them that Rivers State is organised. Tell them that Rivers State is focused, and the leadership is purposeful for the people.”
In his address, the Chairman, National Assembly Joint Committee on Electoral Matters, Senator Sharafadeen Abiodun Alli, said they are in the State for what he described as the second in the series of zonal engagements of the people on the proposed amendment to the Electoral Act, 2022.
Senator Alli stated that there is no doubting the fact that Nigeria has never had an Electoral Act that is as good as the one of 2022, but noted that as soon as the 2023 elections were over, flaws were noticed that needed to be addressed.
He said, “And, I must say without being inmodest, that this is the first time this is happening in the history of the National Assembly. Because we felt that for us, for our people to have confidence in the electoral process, they should be involved in the lawmaking process, and we have decided to go round.”
Senator Alli further said: “About two months ago, we were at Ibadan to talk to the youths and the traditional institutions. Today, we came in here, and it is continuing tomorrow to talk about the issues of legislation: the women and elections in difficult terrains.
“We put this because, apart from the issues of the women and the youths; the South-South, because of the topography of the place (region), it is one of the most difficult terrains we are having difficulties in conducting elections in Nigeria.
“And we need to let the people tell us how the challenges they are facing during elections could be ameliorated in the lawmaking process, hence our coming here,” he added.
He solicited the support of the Government and people of the State and the zone in efforts to fashion a workable electoral amendment that would address the concerns of majority, if not all Nigerians.

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Spain Puts Forward 11 Stadia To Host World Cup 2030

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The Spanish FA are reportedly set to confirm the 11 venues that will make up their end of the 2030 World Cup.
The game’s global showcase will take place in Spain, Portugal and Morocco in six years’ time with the final set to take place at Santiago Bernabéu.
But 10 more stadia are set to be put forward by RFEF by the deadline set by FIFA, according to our sources.
Games will take place in: Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, San Sebastian, La Coruña, Zaragoza, Seville, Malaga and Gran Canaria, the Madrid-based sources claimed.
Neither Vigo nor Valencia, as initially planned, will be present amongst the host cities.
Madrid and Barcelona will both have two stadia present with the Santiago Bernabéu and Civitas Metropolitano in the capital and Camp Nou and Stage Front Stadium in Barcelona.
Meanwhile, FIFA has announced their summer update to the men’s world ranking list with some significant movers.
Argentina’s Copa América victory sees them keep hold of top spot, while France’s disappointing European Championship isn’t enough to dislodge them from second.
Spain are the biggest movers near the summit, rising five places to third, while Belgium drop down to sixth and Colombia enter the top 10 as a result of their run to the Copa final.
Elsewhere, Türkiye have shot up 16 places to 26th due to their Euros showing and Venezuela move from 54th to 37th as a result of their recent showings, making them the biggest overall movers.

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Tinubu Tasks Ambassadors On Enhancement Of Economic Value

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President Bola Tinubu received some ambassadors at the Presidential Villa yesterday.
President Tinubu in Abuja called for the enhancement of the economic value of bilateral relations between Nigeria and partner nations.
The president spoke when he received Letters of Credence from the Ambassadors of Portugal, Jorge Adao Martins Dos Santos; the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Biu Quoc Hung; and the State of Kuwait, Salim Khalifa Mohammed Almuzayen, at the Presidential Villa.
Tinubu expressed his appreciation for Nigeria’s long-standing relations with Portugal and the shared interest in the areas of trade and culture, as well as partnership in oil and gas, which had translated into gains for both countries.
“It is good to have you in Nigeria. I am happy you are familiar with Nigeria and the environment.
“I believe that with your presence, our bilateral relations will be further improved. I am happy you are also present in other West African countries.
“I have been informed of your economic interest in Nigeria. We need to work together for more localised productions as regards mineral deposits.
“I have an open-door policy, and you can always reach me through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and my Chief of Staff, Right Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila,” the president said.
To the Ambassador of Vietnam, President Tinubu said the manufacturing sector in Nigeria was ready to benefit from the automating skills and technology of the Asian country.
“Thank you for coming to work in Nigeria. We share a lot with Vietnam in terms of diversity and values.
“We really value our bilateral agreements with your country, Vietnam, especially in the area of technology. We look forward to adding more value to the partnership with you in terms of collaboration for development,” he said.
President Tinubu also thanked the ambassador of Kuwait for his country’s long-standing good relations with Nigeria and extended his appreciation to the Emir and the Crown Prince.
“I am glad we are pulling strings to enhance the value of our relationship. We are both committed to the development of our people and will explore opportunities for economic ties. I have an open-door policy so you can always reach me,” the president said.
In his response, the Ambassador of Portugal said investors from his country had a keen interest in Nigeria, and that the trade with Nigeria on gas predated the war between Russia and Ukraine, and would be sustained.
“I will work on our agreements on improving economic relations. There is no shortage of interest in the areas of development where we can be partners.
“We are one of the highest buyers of gas from Nigeria, and we remain grateful for the supplies.
“Portuguese companies are also handling the rail line construction from Kano to Niger Republic. It will be ready in two years,” the Portuguese Ambassador said.
His Vietnamese counterpart said: “Under your leadership, I see Nigeria overcoming most of her challenges and taking its place among the happiest people in the world.”
Hung added that he was in the country to strengthen relations and improve economic ties.
The Ambassador of Kuwait assured President Tinubu that he would do his best to strengthen bilateral ties for the mutual benefit of both countries.

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