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Business News

Buhari targets 65% inclusive primary healthcare as he inaugurates new NEC

@MBuhari has disclosed that the Federal Government has begun the implementation of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund which is aimed at increasing the share of Nigeria’s population covered by primary healthcare to 63%. The President made this disclosure on Thursday while inaugurating the National Economic Council (NEC), for the next four years.

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President Muhammadu Buhari has disclosed that the Federal Government has begun the implementation of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund which is aimed at increasing the share of Nigeria’s population covered by primary healthcare to 63%. The President made this disclosure on Thursday while inaugurating the new National Economic Council (NEC) for the next four years.

“In healthcare, as you all know, the Federal Government is now implementing the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund. Sustained implementation will help us increase the share of Nigeria’s population covered by primary healthcare, from 12.6% at present, to 65% by 2023.
“And while the Federal Government has primary responsibility for security and will not shy away from it, the States also have a critical role to play; in particular by assisting and cooperating with the security agencies.”

A policy geared towards Youth Employment: Speaking further during the inauguration, President Buhari charged State Governments to keenly pursue economic policies aimed at improving employment opportunities for the youth.

According to him, State Governors have the responsibility to pursue policies and programmes that will improve vocational training and youth employment, programmes that forestall communal, tribal, religious, societal conflicts, as well as programmes that promote education, information, and dispute resolution.

Prioritising Quality Education: Meanwhile, President Buhari reiterated that quality education remains one of the priorities of his administration. According to the statement obtained by Nairametrics, President Buhari expects all Governors to ensure that schools offer the right opportunities and provide the needed materials and teachers for basic education.

“I made it clear that I would like to see every Governor rise from today’s NEC meeting and rally their LGA Chairmen towards ensuring that our schools offer the right opportunities and provide the needed materials and teachers for basic education, at the minimum.

“On our own part as the Federal Government, we will continue to invest in the school feeding programme, and extend it to all the States, and we will also assist States as much as possible to access the counterpart funding provided by UBEC for the development of basic education.”

No Bail-out for States: On the flip side, President Buhari urged State Governors to seek for ways to improve their Internally Generated Revenues (IGR). Recall that that during his first term, President Buhari’s administration had released a series of bailout funds to state governments to meet up with their financial obligations in the face of economic recession. That will not be the case this time around.

“Going forward, States must in the next four years find ways to increase internally generated revenues, improve VAT collection and increase agricultural output without disrupting business activities.

“I also want you to work with the Federal Agencies and the service providers in ensuring that broadband infrastructure is made available all over the country. Information and Communication Technology is the future of work and we must not allow ourselves to be left behind.”

READ MORE: UPDATE: Senate passes 2019 budget, raises budget bill

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Economy & Politics

FG places high profile Nigerians under security watch for terrorism financing

The FG has said that it is currently profiling a large number of high profile Nigerians who have been alleged to have reasonable links to terrorism financing.

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The Federal Government has said that it is currently profiling a large number of high profile Nigerians who have been alleged to have reasonable links to terrorism financing.

This follows the arrest of an undisclosed number of suspects recently after the convictions of some Nigerians on terrorism financing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

This disclosure was made by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, during a chat with the press at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Friday.

What the Attorney General of the Federation is saying

The Minister said that the convictions of Nigerians in the UAE has given rise to wider and far-reaching investigations in Nigeria.

Malami in his statement said, “As you will actually know, sometimes back, there were certain convictions of Nigerians allegedly involved in terrorism financing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

That gave rise to a wider and far-reaching investigation in Nigeria and I’m happy to report that arising from the wider coverage investigation that has been conducted in Nigeria, a number of people, both institutional and otherwise, were found to be culpable, I mean reasonable grounds for suspicion of terrorism financing have been established, or perhaps has been proven to be in existence in respect of the transactions of certain high-profile individuals and businessmen across the country.

I’m happy to report that investigation has been ongoing for long and it has reached an advanced stage. Arriving from the investigation, there exists, certainly, reasonable grounds for suspicion that a lot of Nigerians, high-profile, institutional and otherwise, are involved in terrorism financing and they are being profiled for prosecution.

In essence, it is indeed true that the government is prosecuting and it’s indeed initiating processes of prosecuting those high-profile individuals that are found to be financing terrorism. It is indeed true.

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However, Malami did not give the number of such suspects as he maintained that investigation was still ongoing until a conclusion is arrived at.

“As to the number, the investigation is ongoing and it has to be conclusive before one can arrive at a certain number, but one thing I can tell you is it is a large number and they are being profiled for prosecution.

It is indeed a large number and I’m not in a position to give you the precise number as at now because the profiling and investigation are ongoing.”

Malami warned that government will not hesitate to invoke the full wrath of the law on anyone found culpable in sponsoring terrorism in the country as nobody found culpable in terrorism financing will be spared.

What you should know

It can be recalled that in March 2021, the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) confirmed the arrest of some of its members by security operatives over the investigation of some of their transactions which border on money laundering, terrorism financing and Know Your Customer status.

ABCON in its statement said that it considers these as serious allegations especially given the security challenges facing the country. It appealed to the authorities to expedite action to ensure that innocent people who have been caught up in this investigation can be released and so that they can return to their anxious families and resume their lives.

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Macro-Economic News

Nigeria’s VAT collection surges to N496.4 billion in Q1 2021

Nigeria’s VAT collection surged by 52.93% (year-on-year) to stand at N496.4 billion in Q1 2021.

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VAT

Nigeria generated a sum of N496.39 billion revenue from Value Added Tax (VAT) in the first quarter of 2021, a surge of 52.93% year-on-year compared to N324.58 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2020.

This is contained in the sectoral distribution of value added tax report, recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

According to the report, VAT collections in the period represents a 52.93% increase as against N324.58 billion recorded in Q1 2020; and a 9.17% increase compared to N454.7 billion recorded in the previous quarter.

The increase in VAT collections could be attributed to increased economic activity in the country, compared to the previous year, where most economic activities were put on hold as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

Highlights

  • Highlights of the report showed that the manufacturing sector generated the highest amount of VAT with N49.41 billion generated, closely followed by Professional Services, having generated N42.50 billion, and State Ministries & Parastatals, which generated N26.96 billion.
  • Mining generated the least, closely followed by Pioneering, Textile & Garment Industry with N48.36 million, N77.01 million, and N289.41 million generated respectively.
  • Also, out of the total amount generated in Q1 2021, N224.85 billion was generated as Non-Import VAT locally while N171.66 billion was generated as Non-Import VAT for foreign.
  • The balance of N99.88 billion was generated as NCS-Import VAT.

Manufacturing sector topples professional services

The manufacturing sector toppled the professional services sector to lead the list of sectors with the highest VAT remittances in the first quarter of 2021. A total of N49.41 billion was collected as Value Added Tax from the manufacturing sector.

  • Professional services followed closely, having remitted N42.5 billion in VAT to the government, State ministries and parastatals stood in third position with N26.96 billion VAT.
  • Others on the list include; Commercial and trading sector with N22.8 billion, oil-producing (N15.8 billion), Transportation and haulage services (N14.9 billion), Breweries, bottling, and beverages (N11.9 billion).
  • Federal ministries and parastatals (N8.8 billion), banks and financial institutions (N3.3 billion), and oil-marketing (N3 billion).

Why this matters

  • The increase in VAT collection is a development in the right direction, especially given the recent positive growth recorded in global crude oil prices, indicating an increase in government revenue.
  • However, the government needs to intensify its effort in creating innovative ways of increasing revenue given growing overheads and statutory spending, coupled with increasing debt profile.

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