Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola, has stated that contrary to popular sentiment about the Executive Finance Bill 2019 being about increase in Value Added Tax (VAT), the bill is a composite one seeking amendment in seven Acts of the National Assembly with removal of taxes in some economic sectors.
Adeola, according to a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Kayode Odunaro, spoke ahead of a Joint Public Hearing by the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Finance on the Finance Bill slated for Tuesday after its referral to the Finance Committee.
Adeola stated that the bill, which aims to reform the country’s tax regime, will involve amendments of seven Acts of the Parliament. These are Petroleum Profit Tax Act, Customs and Excise Tariff Act, Company Income Tax Act, Personal Income Tax Act, Value Added Tax, Stamp Duties Act and Capital Gain Tax.
“Studying the executive bill that was referred to my Committee after passing second reading on the floor of the Senate, I realized that there is a lot of ignorance and limited knowledge of the content and import of the Finance Bill targeted at not only increase in revenue for the government, but removing some conflicting and confusing aspects of our laws that had given rise to legal disputations in the past leading to huge loses of revenue for government,” he said.
Senator Adeola explained that the public hearing will enlighten the public on the import of the bill as well as allow interested parties to express their views on the amendments to the various laws governing different aspects of our tax legislations and the need to clarify grey and conflicting clauses in the laws.
“Beyond the 2.5% increase in the VAT, there are equally changes in the Value Added Tax Act 2004 that increase the number of items exempted from VAT to the extent that Nigeria may have the highest number of such exemptions in Africa and beyond. Also the amendment of the Company Income Tax Act, if passed, will favour Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) by a reduction in applicable taxes with first four years robust incentives,” Adeola stated.
He argued that there is need for the country’s tax laws to take cognizance of the new digital economy that was not in place when they were passed as well as tax foreign based companies with partners in Nigeria making profit in Nigeria without payment of taxes.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Monday declared the All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship candidate, Yahaya Bello as the winner of the governorship election in Kogi State on Saturday.
Bello polled a massive 406,222 votes to defeat his contestant, Musa Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who scored 189,704 votes to emerge second.
With the result, Bello has been re-elected for a second term in office.
INEC’s Returning Officer for the election and Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Professor Ibrahim Garuba, said Bello had been declared winner, having scored the highest number of votes during the poll conducted on Saturday.
Umar said the total number of cancelled votes were 149,576 and that the margin of lead was 216,518.
Also, Mrs. Natasha Akpoti of the Social Democratic Party SDP came third in the exercise with 9,482 votes.
INEC had on Sunday evening suspended further collation of results till today. 19 Local Governments had been collated yesterday while results for Ibaji and Lokoja were being awaited.
When collation resumed on Monday morning at about 9.30am, the Returning Officer for Dekina made clarifications on why votes were cancelled in certain poling units in the Local Government.
After the clarifications, Garbadeen Olugbenga, the Returning Officer for Ibaji gave the result of the LG. According to him, the APC won in the Local Government, having polled 12,682 votes while the PDP polled 10,594 votes.
He said the total registered voters were 66,675 but that only 25,598 of them were accredited, as the total votes cast in the area were 25,258.
In Lokoja, the Returning Officer said there were 137,301 registered voters, but that only 34,897 voters were accredited. In Ibaji, APC scored 19,451 votes while PDP garnered 11,059 votes.
During the collation, INEC announced cancellation of votes in many Polling Units and many Local Governments across the state. Ballot box snatching, violence, over-voting and fighting were among reasons preferred for the cancellation. 25 political parties participated in the election.
Meanwhile the PDP and Wada at a media briefing on Sunday rejected the result, describing it as a ruse that would be challenged at the tribunal. The party alleged widespread violations of the Electoral Act. Also, the party, through its agent, Capt. Joe Agada refused to sign the final copy of the result as a protest against its outcome.
Governor Nyesom Wike on Sunday re-affirmed his declaration of Rivers as a Christian state.
He said he owed nobody any apology for his stand.
According to him, he remains the governor due to God’s intervention.
He said God dislodged “forces of darkness” who were primed to rob him of his mandate.
Wike spoke at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Holy Ghost Rally, which held at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium on Sunday.
He described himself as a living testimony of God’s blessing.
He said: “Nigerians are aware of what happened on 9th March 2019. If anyone says he does not believe in God, that event of March 9 should make you believe God.”
“But for God, the enemies would have taken over the state. I thank the Church for standing firm.
“They prayed for God’s will to be done and God’s will was done. But for your prayers, I won’t be here as Rivers State Governor. “
Governor Wike said the criticisms of his declaration of Rivers as a Christian state would not stop him from affirming the reality.
He said: “Anytime I have the opportunity, I repeat the declaration with authority and I owe nobody an apology. I am standing on solid authority. Rivers is a Christian state.”
He commended the Redeemed Christian Church of God for their sanitation programme: Pick a Thrash.
Wike said: “If we have all churches embark on sanitation, our state will be cleaner. We will support this programme financially and we shall donate three vehicles to the Church for the programme.”
The governor said God has used the General Overseer of RCCG to bless the state, adding that the Annual Holy Ghost Rally has been a blessing.
General Overseer of Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, said everyone needs help. He noted that the best source to get help is from God.
He said: “No matter how influential and powerful, everyone needs help. Everyone needs help and the best help you can get is from the Almighty God. “
He said divine help was always on time and manifests at the time it is needed.
Pastor Adeboye prayed for Governor Wike, Rivers State and her people.
The Pastor in charge of Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Belemina Obunge, announced that the second phase of the church’s environmental sanitation programme has begun.
He expressed gratitude to Governor Wike and the Government of Rivers State for the support over the years.
Young musician, Master Nengi Jaja and the RCCG Region 5 Choir ministered in songs at the Holy Ghost Rally.
Over 40,000 Christian faithful attended the rally, which had the theme: Divine Help.
The country may soon be thrown into complete blackout as the Electricity Generation Companies (GenCos), on Sunday, threatened to shut down operations over alleged intimidations and threats from the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET).
This is even as the GenCos recommended that the administration of the GenCos finances be taken off NBET and handed back to the Market Operator (MO), while NBET focuses on engagements with new entrants or intending power project developers.
Speaking at a briefing in Abuja, the Executive Secretary of the Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), the umbrella body of the GenCos, Dr Joy Ogaji said this became imperative following continued threats from NBET, compelling the GenCos to accede to its demand of 0.75% administrative charge.
NBET in a letter dated September 13 and sent to individual thermal plants, directed the GenCos to: “Obtain, as a matter of urgency, their respective board approvals or resolutions, bequeathing responsibility for payment of gas and transportation to the respective supply companies for an administrative charge of 0.75%.”
The GenCos had argued that NBET like other market participants, is a licensee of NERC, and as such, in a regulated market, every expense/cost must be backed by regulatory approval for effective computation of the market tariffs.
While addressing journalists, Dr Ogaji accused NBET of threatening not to release payments due GenCos until they accede to its request.
This, according to her may soon lead to the shutdown of its members’ operations even as she noted that already, over three GenCos presently cannot generate optimally.
“If NBET’s excesses are not checked, either deliberately or not, if we don’t shut down, the machines will. As we speak, gas suppliers have stopped supplying to some GenCos.
“The situation is truly grave and completely unprecedented as NBET has completely shed its role as a licensee of the industry and has taken on some sort of regulatory role. The entity is almost conducting itself in a manner that suggests that it is above the law.
“This singular action by NBET may lead to the shutdown of power supply by GenCos, who have unanimously agreed to call the bluff of NBET,” she said.
She reiterated that the Bulk Trader is a trading licensee, licensed and regulated by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), to undertake a bulk purchase and resale of electricity in the Transitional Electricity Market.
“NBET, as a child of necessity, is a transitory agency, created to instil confidence and act as a buffer, bulwark or a gap filler virtually providing security to investors in the power generation business in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry.
“In essence, NBET is appointed by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) to act on behalf of the GenCos. This entails that without the GenCos, there is no NBET,” she added.
Ogaji further stressed that the over N1trillion liquidity challenge its members are faced with is due to NBET’s breach of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) terms of 100% payment for power generated and supplied.
Her words: “What Nigerians need to know and be aware in addition, is that these victimisations notwithstanding, NBET’s management has now constituted itself as the Alpha and Omega authority (quasi regulator) that has the capacity to make or mar generation businesses in Nigeria.
“The situation is so bad that to remain in business and provide power to Nigerians, GenCos have to plead, lobby, beg to be paid for power generated and utilised.”
While calling that its finances be handled by the market operators, she said six years after privatization, the GenCos are still faced with risks ranging from regulatory, volumetric dispatch/transmission as well as gas risks.
“NBET, as a result, has become and continues to constitute more harm than good not only to the market but the GenCos at whose behest it exists. As agents of the GenCos, it is expected that NBET will work for the interest of the GenCos and not the GenCos “worshipping” NBET,” she stated.
To this end, she called for a review of the conduct of the management of NBET to ensure that business etiquettes are instilled, thus creating an avenue for operators to ventilate their feelings and difficulties.
“NBET should take it as an assurance that the GenCos; the long-suffering, quiet giants of the market have been still for too long. We are ready, able and willing to utilize even higher and stronger contacts in the government to see this issue to fruition,” she affirmed. (Nigerian Tribune)
Chief David Lyon, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has been declared winner of the governorship election held in Bayelsa State on Saturday.
Lyon polled 352,552 to defeat his rival from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Duoye Diri, who got 143,172 votes, according to officials results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
INEC’s Returning Officer of the election and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin, Professor Faraday Orunmuwese, around 1:03am on Monday declared Lyon winner of the poll.
He said, Lyon, having satisfied the electoral criteria by scoring the highest number of vote cast was hereby declared winner of the governorship poll.
The APC recorded more than a landslide result in Southern Ijaw, polling a gargantuan 124,803 votes against the PDP’s 4,898 votes. The result is certainly APC’s joker in the poll.
Official results in the eight local government had APC’s Lyon winning with 352,552 while PDP’s Duoye Diri has 143,172.
In Ogbia, the local government of former President Goodluck Jonathan has Lyon in massive win. Lyon got a massive vote of 58,016 to defeat the PDP’s candidate, Douye Diri who scored 13,763 votes.
Also, Lyon won massively in Nembe, the local government of former Governor of the State and Minister of State of Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.
Lyon won by a landslide in Nembe, polling 83,041, as against Diri’s paltry votes of 874.
However, Lyon suffered a massive loss in the Sagbama Local Government Area, home of Governor Seriake Dickson.
The PDP recorded a landslide in Dickson’s LGA, polling 60,339, while the APC scored 7,831 votes. Accord Party got 131 votes.
In Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA, APC polled 8,934 to lose to the PDP, which scored 15,360.
In Brass LG, APC claimed victory, with a total vote of 23,831, while PDP got 10,410 votes.
In Ekeremor Local Government, Lyon polled 21,489 votes to edge out PDP’s Diri, who scored 18,344 votes.
Yahaya Bello, the incumbent governor, and the candidate of the All Progressives Congress candidate is in the early lead at the ongoing Kogi State governorship election.
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission, Bello won eight local governments out of the 11 local governments declared by the so far.
From the 11 local governments, results declared Bello had polled a total of 273,079 votes against his major challenger Musa Wada of People’s democratic party Wada who polled a total of 60,869 votes.
The candidate of the Social Democratic Party Natasha Akpoti has polled a total of 6002 votes to come third.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan says the delayed voting exercise at his polling unit is an indictment on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said this while addressing journalists after casting his vote in the Bayelsa governorship election.
Jonathan and Patience, his wife, voted at ward 8, polling unit 39, Otuoke, Ogbia local government area of the state.
INEC officials arrived at Jonathan’s polling unit about 11 am — three hours after the scheduled time for the commencement of the exercise.
The former president said the delay is an indictment of INEC, adding that the youth should do more to show responsibility, rather than blaming the government.
“We cannot conduct election in a crisis situation. Whatever we do in selecting who will be our president, governors, local government chairmen reflect on our society and if you bring people that are not competent, you cannot turn round to begin to blame government. Nigerians are so quick at blaming people in authority without blaming ourselves,” he said.
“Look at even this voting, I was here 19 minutes after 8:00am. Election was supposed to start 8:00am. And I have made observation mission in many other African countries and we used to go there 30 minutes before starting. In our reports, we indicate exactly when the vote starts because if you start after that time, it is an indictment on the electoral body that manages the election. There is no reason why election should not be start at 8:00, but at 19 minutes after 8, there was nobody here.
“All the people managing the elections are very young people, you the youths should stop blaming the old people. You should begin to blame yourselves. I was here, no INEC officials to conduct the elections, no security personnel to man the election, no journalist to observe the election. It was only one online medium house that I met, no single observer that I met here, even the voters were not here. I have never observed that in any other African country, so we Nigerians must begin to look inward and ask ourselves what is our problem? Can we begin to do things properly. We cannot do things awkwardly and expect the best.”
But Nwachukwu Orji, resident electoral commissioner, said the delay was due to the action of some members of the community who wanted the exercise moved elsewhere in the area.
“We were at the government secondary school, Otuoke, but they (community members) wanted us to move over to Otuoke town hall. We insisted on using the designated RAC centre for this election and they disrupted our process. So all the activities including distribution of materials to the PUs that were supposed to take place on the eve of the election had to take place today. So that is main reason for the delay,” he said.
The Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has derided the state Governor, Seriake Dickson, for making unguarded and spurious statements to whip up public sentiment against the APC following the Saturday’s governorship election.
The state Chairman of the APC, Amos Jotham, in a statement at the weekend said Dickson had again displayed his offensive garrulous character.
Jotham expressed shock that Dickson called for the cancellation of results in Nembe and Southern Ijaw and other LGAs that had not been declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said the governor in a desperate bid to incite the public and all relevant agencies against the APC, only succeeded in exhibiting sheer ignorance with regard to democratic norms.
The party chairman advised Dickson to accept the outcome of the elections as a referendum on his lacklustre performance since taking over the leadership of the state almost eight years ago.
Jotham said it was unbecoming of the governor as the chief security officer of the state to start raising false alarm in an election that his hand-picked candidate had earlier declared as “peaceful and smooth”
According to the APC chairman it was also wrong for Dickson to drag the security agencies into his partisan ranting because they dared to be professional in the discharge of their duties.
The chairman called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and relevant agencies to be wary of Dickson alleging he had penchant for deceit.
Passengers on board an Abuja-bound aircraft from Lagos sometime last week were thrown into commotion at the sight of the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Obafemi Hamzat, in the economy class of the aircraft.
The deputy governor was scheduled to attend an official function in Abuja on that day but all the airlines contacted said that only tickets for economy class were available. Determined to make the trip, Hamzat told his aides that he did not mind flying with economy ticket.
As he stepped into the aircraft, the passengers he met on board could not believe their eyes. They whispered to one another in curiousity, wondering if the passenger they beheld was indeed the deputy governor of Lagos State.
Curious passengers who had managed to keep their composure later swooped on Hamzat as soon as the aircraft landed in Abuja, to ascertain that they were not seeing a ghost.
“Your Excellency, what is going on?” one of them asked in a tone of genuine concern. “Is Lagos so broke now that the Deputy Governor is flying economy? Is it really true that someone has gone away with all the money?”
An amused Hamzat smiled in response, explaining that he needed to make an urgent trip and got the seat that was available. “What is important is that I wanted to be in Abuja and I am in Abuja,” he said.
The Independent National Electoral Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye has announced that the electoral commission might be cancelling votes from polling units where violence was recorded.
Okoye who stated that the cancellation is dependent on reports made by the presiding officer in such units, added that they are not aware of the Peoples Democratic Party’s claim that Governor Yahaya Bello and the APC was forcing the Commission to sign prefilled results.
The INEC Commissioner said the decision to cancel results in some polling units will not be taken independently without reports from its officials in the field.
He said “we have some Resident and National Commissioners and other senior staff of the commission on the field. They are doing their job in accordance with the law.”