The latest Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) report released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that all states in Nigeria generated the total sum of N691.11 billion between January and June 2019.
According to the Bureau’s report, the IGR generated by the 36 states and FCT rose by 94.2 billion (15.7%) when compared to the N596.91 billion IGR generated in half 2018.
The report also showed that thirty-one (31) states and the FCT recorded growth in IGR while five (5) states recorded a decline in IGR at the end of H1 2019.
The Breakdown: In half-year 2019, details of the report showed that across the 36 states, Nigeria’s commercial hub, Lagos State, generated the biggest IGR of N205.16 billion. This means Lagos IGR constituted 30% of the IGR generated across states in half-year 2019.
- River State ranks the second with the biggest IGR of N75.9 billion
- Other states among the top 10 states with the biggest IGR include FCT (N38.5 billion), Delta (N36.3 billion), Ogun (N29.5 billion), Kaduna (N22.4 billion), Akwa Ibom (N20.4 billion), Ondo (N19 billion), Kano (N18.5 billion) and Cross River (N16.7 billion).
- Meanwhile, Gombe, Yobe and Taraba states recorded the lowest IGR of N2.08 billion, N2.2 billion and N3.27 billion.
IGR Growth: Meanwhile, while Lagos is top in terms of the amount of IGR generated in half-year 2019, other states recorded the highest growth recorded in terms of IGR generated between half-year 2018 and half year 2019.
Further analysis showed that Zamafara State recorded the biggest growth in the total IGR in half-year 2019. Specifically, Zamafara generated N2.65 billion IGR in half-year 2018, while the state’s IGR rose to N7.21 billion in half-year 2019. This implies that Zamfara recorded a 171% increase in its total IGR between half-year 2018 and 2019.
Also, Kebbi and Osun States both rank second and third respectively with the biggest growth in IGR. Specifically, Kebbi generated N2.03 billion IGR in half-year 2018, while the state’s IGR hit N4.71 billion in half-year 2019. This means the state’s IGR rose by 132%.
On the other hand, Osun State’s IGR rose from N4.7 billion in half-year 2018 to N4.72 billion in half-year 2019, representing 131% in its IGR increase.
In the meantime, while the decline in the federal allocation has been a critical concern to most states, the rise in IGR recorded in most of these states is indeed a welcome development, as this is expected to ease off pressures from the fiscal constraint currently witnessed in the economy.
Covid-19: Moscow commences mass vaccination of Sputnik V shot
Russia has commenced the distribution of its Covid-19 vaccine, which will be first made available to doctors and other medical workers.
Moscow has commenced the distribution of Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, through 70 clinics on Saturday, December 5, 2020, marking Russia’s first mass inoculation against the disease that has infected over 2.4 million people in the country.
According to a report from Reuters, while making the disclosure, Moscow city’s coronavirus task force said that the Russian-made vaccine would first be made available to doctors and other medical workers, teachers and social workers because they have the highest risk of exposure to the disease.
The Russian capital, Moscow, which is the epicentre of the country’s coronavirus outbreak, reported 7,993 new cases overnight, a sharp increase from 6,868 that was recorded a day earlier and well above the reported daily infection rate of around 700 that was recorded in early September.
Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, on his personal website, wrote, “Over the first five hours, 5,000 people signed up for the jab – teachers, doctors, social workers, those who are today risking their health and lives the most.”
The age limit for those expected to receive the vaccine is capped at 60 years. It, however, bars people with certain underlying health conditions, pregnant women and those who have had respiratory illnesses for the past two weeks from being vaccinated.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in a televised government meeting, announced the registration of its first Covid-19 vaccine in what was described as a step ahead of any other vaccine development.
- The Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, which was developed by Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, in collaboration with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), was certified to be 92% effective in protecting people from the virus infection.
- Russia has developed 2 Covid-19 vaccines; Sputnik V which is backed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund, and another by Siberia’s Vector Institute, with final trials for both yet to be completed.
- Scientists have raised concerns about the safety and speed at which Russia had registered and approved its vaccine, giving the regulatory go-ahead for it and launching mass vaccinations before full trials to test its safety and efficacy had been completed.
- The Sputnik V vaccine is administered in two injections, with the second dose expected to be given 21 days after the first.
US House passes reform bill to decriminalize marijuana
US Congress has passed a sweeping legislation that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.
The 116th US Congress passed a reform legislation to decriminalize marijuana and expunge non-violent marijuana-related convictions and prosecution.
The bill, however, moves to legislate H.R. 3884, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2019, under a closed rule.
According to a statement made by the House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Jerry Nadler, the MORE Act is a commonsense bill that will make a tangible difference in the lives of millions of Americans, as it is tied around ideals of racial, economic, and moral justice.
However, the bill still has to pass through the US Senate, but it is likely that the Senate would pass it, given the uncertainties around it and owing to the non-inclusion of a cost estimate in the committee report, according to Clause 3(d) of rule XIII.
However, US representative for the eastern part of Bronx in New York, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, tweeted that 68% of Americans support marijuana legalization.
This year, South Dakota, Arizona, Montana, and New Jersey joined 11 other states in legalizing it. Yet, the federal government still classifies pot as a dangerous drug. The Senate must listen to the American people and vote on this bill.
Why this matters
The bill, if finally passed by the senate would decriminalize cannabis, and also provide for reinvestment in certain persons adversely impacted by the war on drugs, through the expungement of certain cannabis offenses and for other purposes.
Thus, leading to the delisting of marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances and expunge some marijuana convictions for nonviolent criminals.
The bill would also ban the denial of federal public benefits to a person on the basis of certain cannabis-related conduct or convictions.
What they are saying
The House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Jerry Nadler, representing parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn said:
“There is no reason for cannabis to be classified as a federally scheduled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. The MORE Act deschedules cannabis, allowing states to establish their own marijuana regulations and providing medical marijuana access to veterans in need.”
“The MORE Act is a common-sense bill that will make a tangible, real difference in the lives of millions of Americans. I’m proud of this bill centered around ideals of racial, economic, and moral justice.”
“I’m so proud that the MORE Act passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 228 to 164. I introduced this bill to provide restorative justice, modernize America’s cannabis laws, and deliver meaningful investments to America’s communities & small businesses.”
Co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, Earl Blumenauer, representing Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District, while speaking at Capitol Hill during the House session on Friday said:
“We are here because we have failed three generations of Black and Brown young people, whose lives can be ruined or lost, by selective enforcement of these laws.
This Legislation will end that disaster. It’s time for the Congress to step up and do its part”
What you should know
- Recreational marijuana is currently legal in 15 states and Washington DC, while Medical marijuana is legal in 34 states of the 50 States of the USA.
- The MORE Act has seen a lot of criticisms by people who believe the bill is an unserious bill, as there is zero interest in moving this bill in the Senate and zero interest in supporting it in either the current administration or the incoming one.
- Earlier this week, Republican Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, criticized the House for passing the cannabis bill, instead of focusing on a COVID-19 stimulus bill that both parties reportedly have agreed upon.
US Government removes visa reciprocity fees for Nigerians from December 3
The US government has removed all visa reciprocity fees for Nigerian citizens seeking visas to the US.
The United States government has announced the removal of all visa reciprocity fees for Nigerian citizens seeking visas to the US with effect from December 3.
This disclosure was made through a statement titled, ‘Update on removal of visa fees for Nigerian citizens by the US Government,’ by the Federal Ministry of Finance on Saturday, December 4, 2020, and signed by the ministry’s Spokesperson, Ferdinand Nwonye.
The Federal Government revealed that this positive development follows the removal of excess visa application, processing and biometric fees for United States citizens applying for Nigerian visas by the Nigerian Government.
The statement from the Foreign Affairs Ministry reads, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform that the United States Government has removed all visa reciprocity fees for Nigerian citizens seeking visas to the United States.
“The positive development is in line with the removal of excess visa application, processing and biometric fees for the United States citizens applying for Nigerian visas by the Nigerian Government. The United States Government has therefore eliminated reciprocity fees for Nigerian citizens with effect from December 3, 2020.”
The foreign affairs ministry, in the statement, also advised prospective travellers to the United States to visit www.travel.state.gov for details.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that in 2019, the Donald Trump administration had imposed the reciprocity fee for all approved non-immigrant visa applications by Nigerians. This fee was charged in addition to visa application fees for only applicants who were issued visas.
- While imposing the additional reciprocity fees, which ranged from $80 to $303 depending on the class of visa, the US Embassy in Nigeria disclosed that the reciprocity fees were a fallout of unsuccessful talks with the Nigerian government over the reduction of visa fees it charged United States citizens.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja ______________________
PRESS RELEASE pic.twitter.com/YH8AhPsO2X
— Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria 🇳🇬 (@NigeriaMFA) December 4, 2020